Updated: Feb 17, 2021
So, it's your honeymoon, you've just splashed out and bought a really nice red to open in 5 years. You lay it down, stay away from the temptation of opening it early, then on the big 5 you open it... and it's, well, undrinkable?! - true story, our Marketing Manager wasn't so wine savvy 20 years ago!
Lucky for you, we're here to help! We asked our experts, they answered. Here it is folks! Tried and tested, this is wine storage for 'dummies'.
Not too Hot, or Cool - Just Right
Storing wine at the correct temperature plays a huge part on the longevity and drink-ability of your prized drop. An easy way to remember is the double C's - Cool & Constant. All wine - no matter what varietal; wants to be between 10°C-15°C with no fluctuations in temperature. One of the worst places to store wine is your kitchen because of this. Living in a city that has crazy temperature fluctuations (like Auckland) proves this to be difficult. If you're serious about your cellar, consider a wine cabinet that'll do the work for you and keep your wine comfy - Noel Leeming has some affordable options available.
Storing the Goods
If you're going to drink your wine within a week or two of purchasing, it'll be just fine waiting for you in the kitchen. However, if you want to age your wine there are a few things to keep in mind when finding the perfect place for it to sit tight. Until it's ready to be swirled and sipped, wine doesn't want to be in the spotlight. Keep it away from sunshine or artificial light as this can heat the wine and cause it to become stale before its time. Wine wants to be swirled, not shaken! Keep it away from major vibrations as this can damage wine by speeding up chemical reactions. Wine that is corked needs to be stored on its side to ensure the cork remains in contact with the wine and doesn't dry out. As mentioned before, storage temperature is important! Basements/garages that can double up as a wine cellar are ideal as they are dark, cool and generally not too busy. You can however, get pretty creative. Perhaps you have a little closet somewhere that you can put some DIY wine racks into, or a vacant storage area? As long as your space follows the basic guidelines above, you're good to go!
Coming of Age
Selecting wine to cellar can be daunting, how can you tell if your wine will age well? We asked Pete, our Winemaker - "This is totally dependent on the varietal/style. For example, Chardonnays and Rieslings will generally age very well, however Pinot Gris and Viognier not so much. Generally, wines with more tannin and acidity will age better, but there are always exceptions. As a wine ages in bottle, tertiary characters develop (generally more savoury) while primary fruit characters will begin to fade. So, if your wine is all about fruit expression, then it will generally be better enjoyed in it’s youth."
Sound easy enough? You can always look up your wine and check reviews, most wine reviewers will add a 'best to drink by' date.
Now that we have storage covered, what about serving? Temperatures can affect the taste of wine, for better or worse. Red wine that is too cold can taste thin and harsh. The best way to warm wine gently without harming it is to hold your glass in your hands, or grabbing it out of the fridge 30 minutes before serving (if you can wait that long) to get the best out of your wine. if you're unsure, we've done the work for you and put a chart together as a reference.
If you have your whites and reds in the same wee glass, you're missing out! It's true, selecting the right glass will make any wine taste better. Decanting is also a great way to enhance your red, this is because the oxygen exposure of the wine is increased, improving the taste by softening tannins and releasing aromas.
Red wines are best served in larger, wider sized glasses. This is so there is more surface area for air to come in contact with the wine and ultimately develop the aromas and flavours.
White & Rose wines are best served in medium sized glasses so the fresh, fruit characteristics can gather towards the top of the glass.
Sparkling wines are best served in... yep, you guessed it! - Flute glasses. This allows the bubbles to come in contact with a larger volume of wine before bursting at the top of the glass.
However, if you have one set of wine glasses; the most important thing is that is that the glass has some form of “tulip” shape (i.e. tapered at the top to funnel and capture aroma as you swirl and sip).
Going for Seconds
If you're like us, there's no saving some for tomorrow! However, if you've ever wondered why your wine never tastes as good the next day; Pete our Winemaker has some advice for you on how long you should leave your opened bottle waiting - "This depends on the wine. Sulfur levels, how old it is and how much ullage (headspace) there is in the bottle all come into play. A young wine might benefit from some oxygenation and really loosen on the second day it has been opened. However, an aged wine will often fall over quickly and oxidise within 12 hours as there will be little in the way of preservative (sulfur Dioxide) left. Generally, I’d say drink within 24 hrs of opening."
Send us photos of your DIY wine cellars, we love seeing your creations!
The Hunting Lodge x