How to Protect Your Wine

Steve Sheinkopf  |  March 16, 2015  |  3 Min. Read

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I once toured a family vineyard in Hungary. They were an old Tokay (great wine, btw) producer from the 19th century. You go through a tour of the grape fields, how it was processed and most importantly how it was stored.

The wine from this manufacturer was stored in nearby caves, because of optimum temperature, humidity, light and vibration. Wines are actually living grapes and need to be stored properly in order to preserve the taste and texture of the wine itself.

Let’s look at some really different wine storage areas. Then we will look at how to protect and store your wine. Then I will recommend a few products.

Modern Wine Storage

I just love what people have done aesthetically. These wine rooms are gorgeous.

These pics all have one commonality. It really didn’t hit me until I went to dinner in Dallas at a great restaurant called Trulucks. They have a huge wine selection. Their storage center is in the front of the restaurant. Have a look...

truluccu-wine-display-cabinet-dallas

These lovely wine areas are designed to show wine NOT store it. I had a great meal at Trulucks, but shining a 75 watt light bulb on top of a wine bottle will probably alter the taste to be polite.

How to Store Wine

  1. Temperature: Optimum temperature should be 45-65 degrees. Temperature should be consistent
  2. Vibration: Think about a cave. There is very little vibration. Vibration will disturb the tannins in the wine.
  3. Light: Sunlight and UV Light will alter the complexion of the wine itself. Most of the wine centers have UV protection on the doors for that reason. Most bottles are colored, not clear, to protect against UV. Most wine experts say incandescent is good from a UV standpoint. However, 90% of an incandescent energy is emitted as heat, which violates rule number 1. I like LED, because it is far more efficient and emits very little heat.
  4. Humidity: Too much humidity will promote mold. Not enough will dry out the cork and let air into the bottle. You want to store wine sideways, so the cork will not be dried out for the same reason.

Places to Store Wine

Anyplace with an abundance of heat and light should be excluded. Kitchens with heat emitting ranges are out. Cellars would be a good choice as long as the boiler wasn’t close by. Closets and other cool dark places make great choices.

Wine Products to Consider

Storing wine in the home became popular in the early 1990s. Manufacturers scrambled with the new demand by basically placing glass fronts and wine shelves in their undercounter refrigerators. This is again far from optimal for storing wine.

Sub-Zero was the first to manufacture a product designed specifically for wine with the UV door, digital two zone temperature with gasket to eliminate crossover and smooth gliding racks.

Recently, U-Line has introduced a very good wine cabinet with LED lighting and many of the same features.

True is a very durable beverage center with places for wine. All three should be capable of storing wine.

subzero-undercounter-wine-refrigerator-424

Sub-Zero 424

uline-undercounter-wine-refrigerator-3024ZWCS00A

U-Line 3024ZWCS00A

true-undercounter-wine-center-TWC-24DZ-R-SG-A

True TWC-24DZ-SG-B

Final Thoughts

Remember wine is living in the bottle. Storing it properly will bring out the intended flavor. Avoid rooms with an overabundance of heat, light and vibration. If you do decide to buy a wine storage center, insure it is designed to store, not just show wine.

Recommended Reads

Additional Resources

Download the Yale Undercounter Refrigerator Buying Guide with features and specs on the most popular wine and beverage centers. Over 85,000 people have read a Yale Guide.

Undercounter Refrigerator Buying Guide

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Steve Sheinkopf

Steve is the third-generation CEO of Yale and a lifelong Bostonian. He currently resides in Boston, one mile from where he was born. Despite being one of the worst goalies of all time, he is a huge hockey fan of college hockey and the Boston Bruins. The love of his life is his daughter Sophie.

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