The Basics of Storing and Serving Your Fine Wine

Quite often you buy wine that you do not intent to consume right away especially when you are stocking up for your birthday party or chama meeting which is a few weeks or even months away. Which begs the question: How do you store your tipple?

Here are a few guidelines that could help you keep your wine safe until you’re ready to toast for your party:

Before opening

  1. Direct sunlight is not good

Direct sunlight easily gives your wine an unpleasant smell. It is therefore wise to store your wine away from direct sun’s rays. If you are unable to keep your bottle away from light, wrap it by cloth and put it in a cool, dark place.

  1. Love Things Sideways

When wine is kept upright for long, the corks usually dry out, and spoil the content by exposing it to air. Horizontal racking not only saves on space, but also can’t contaminate your wines.

  1. Keep it Cool

Your cellar should maintain an average temperature of 24ºC. If your store suffers wide temperature swings, the wine runs the risk of premature aging due to over-breathing. Quite often, temperature fluctuations affect red wines more than the white wines. On average, the temperatures should not swing beyond 1.6ºC in a day and 2.5ºC in a year.

  1. Do not Shake the Bottles

When you are picking a bottle say to drink, you don’t have to move the other bottles in your cellar. Equally, heavy traffic, vibration from generators and other machines negatively affects the quality of the stored wine.

  1. Isolate Your Wine

You should keep your wine away from anything that releases a strong smell as this can affect it by permeating through the cork. Always go for a well ventilated room to store your wine.

  1. Don’t Sweat the Humidity

Most wines do well with a humidity level of 70 percent which helps prevent the corks from drying out thus preventing air from contaminating the contents.

When serving

Various flavors of wines usually come out well at different temperatures. Here is a simple guide:

  • Dry White wines (8-14 ºC)
  • Champagne and Sparkling Wines (6-8 ºC)
  • Light Red Wines (13 ºC)
  • Deep Red Wines (15-19 ºC)

After opening

  1. Store white wine in a closet. This only keeps the wine fresh for about three to five days. To keep it well, cork it tightly to minimize exposure to air even as you keep it away from direct light and heat.
  2. For Red Wines, you can keep them out of the cellar but in a dark place to keep it safe for days.