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Preserving Wine Made Easy: Top Ten Tips to Get More From Your Cellar

America doesn’t whine about wine. Americans produced more than 600 million gallons of wine in 2021.

If this statistic is surprising, it shouldn’t be. Wine preservation tips are easy to follow, so much so that you can preserve your own wine in your basement.

But you shouldn’t start pressing grapes just yet. You need to know a lot of different things about preserving wine.

What tools should you use for wine preservation? What conditions should your wine cellar have? How long should wine last, and what should you understand about how to keep wine from going bad?

Answer these questions and you can start preserving your wine in no time. Here are ten great wine-saving tips.

1. Buy a Wine Fridge

Many people put their bottles of wine in the refrigerator or freezer. You can do this if you want to drink half a bottle one day and then drink the other half the next day. But if you leave a bottle in your fridge for a long period of time, the cold temperatures will damage the drink.

You should get a wine fridge, not a regular refrigerator. A wine fridge will keep your wine cool while also controlling the humidity. You can put your champagne in a separate compartment from your other bottles.

2. Be Careful With Open Bottles

An opened bottle can last for a few days. You can extend the life of an opened bottle to a week by recorking it. You should fit the cork over the top and then wrap some wax paper around it, forming a seal over your wine.

If you don’t have the cork, you can use a rubber stopper or a vacuum pump. You can also buy a Coravin wine preserver, which will keep the bubbles in your carbonated wine.

3. Get Rid of Expired Wine

Some wines can age for decades. But other wines can expire within just a few years. White wines can go bad in one year while red wines can expire in three.

You can tell when your wine has expired by its color. Your white wine may turn golden, and your red wine may go brown. This means that the liquid has been exposed to oxygen, and you should pour it out.

4. Control the Temperature

You should never store wine in very cold or very hot climates. Most wines should remain around 55 degrees Fahrenheit, though you can store yours slightly above this mark.

When you are serving wine, you should keep it just below room temperature, which is between 58 and 65 degrees Fahrenheit. Older wines are better at slightly higher temperatures, while younger wines should be kept colder. Sparkling and sweet wines should be kept just above freezing.

5. Aim for Moderate Humidity

Your humidity should also not be too high or low. Your corks can dry out and crack at low levels, but your labels can get damaged at high levels.

Try to keep the humidity in your cellar around 64%. You can use a humidity gauge to monitor how humid your cellar is. If you need to take moisture out of the air, you should use a dehumidifier.

6. Avoid Odors

You should never store wine bottles in areas with strong odors, like kitchens. Odors can slip through the cork and enter the wine, making it smell and taste bad.

In your wine cellar, you should never store paint or chemicals. If you want to paint the walls, you can once you remove your bottles.

7. Keep Bottles Horizontal

You can keep your bottle vertical inside a refrigerator or on a table before you serve your wine. For long-term storage, you should try to put your bottles horizontally on racks. This allows the wine to keep the screws moist.

You can keep screw cap wine bottles on their bottoms. But horizontal storage can free up space against your walls and make your bottles easy to access.

8. Keep Your Cellar Dark

However long you are storing your wine for, you should keep it away from the light. UV rays can damage the wine and make the aromas taste spoiled.

It’s okay to have a window in your cellar, as long as it is at an angle to your bottles. Track how the sunlight travels through your cellar and adjust your bottles to avoid contact.

9. Don’t Shake Your Bottles

Vibration can spoil your wine as much as sunlight can. Vibrations damage the sediments in your bottle, preventing the wine from aging over time. Store your wine away from vibrating things like your washing machine.

However, you should not worry too much about vibrations because your wine will not spoil. You can put a bottle back on the shelf if it has fallen off.

10. Use Half Bottles

You may have too much wine to store inside one bottle. You should not pour the remaining wine into a full bottle, as it will have a lot of air in it.

You should instead place the liquid in a half bottle. The less air that touches the liquid, the less the liquid can spoil.

Start Preserving Wine

You can try preserving wine once you get the essentials down. Put a wine refrigerator in your cellar. Don’t open wine until you’re ready to drink it, and get rid of your spoiled liquid immediately.

Be in control of your cellar. Keep the temperature and humidity moderate, and keep foul-smelling substances out.

Your bottles should remain horizontal, dark, and still on sturdy shelves. When you have extra liquid, pour your wine into half bottles and seal the tops to avoid air exposure.

Making great wine requires a lot of knowledge. Read more winemaking guides by following our coverage.

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