Let’s talk about room temperature for a moment. In the USA, room temperature means somewhere between 68 and 72 degrees Fahrenheit. That is 20 to 22 degree Celcius.
When we talk about storing wine, experts generally recommend temperatures around 55 degrees Fahrenheit which is 13 Celsius. Is the temperature of the rooms in your house 55 F / 13 C? Probably not.
Now not everybody has their own precisely temperature controlled wine cellar to keep their favorite wine in. If you want to learn how to properly store wine at room temperature, without the need of a wine cellar or any other fancy equipment, make sure to read this article until the end.
Every wine lover needs a place to store their wines. However, for many of us, having a wine cellar or a fancy wine fridge isn’t always an option due to the lack of space we might have in our houses or our strict budgets that might not allow us to invest in equipment.
So we most often opt for buying wine racks to store our favorite bottles a room in the house. This means the bottle is stored at whatever temperature that particular room in your house is.
Provided that the bottle is corked, placed in a horizontal position and away from direct sunlight, your favorite wine can be stored at room temperature for up to 6 months without going bad.
Why store wine properly?
Wine may be a tasty drink but it’s also, unfortunately, a bit touchy and doesn’t really get along with heat, light, oxygen and vibrations. Storing wine at a place where it is vulnerable to these elements will result in it deteriorating faster.
If you’re interested in the specifics, below we will be discussing how each of these elements will affect the quality of your wine.
- Heat: Heat is a well known catalyst, which means that it speeds up the process of chemical reactions. While you might think that exposing your wine to heat is good because it will speed up the aging process and you won’t have to wait 5 years, this is a misconception. Heat will not only make the aromas disappear, but it might lead to the formation of what is known as “protein haze”, which is completely harmless but unpleasant to look at.
- Light: “Light struck” occurs in wines when the sun’s UV rays pass through the bottle. The rays excite the vitamins B5 and B2 that are found in the wine and make them react with amino acids. This reaction leads to the formation of sulfur-containing compounds that give off a rotten egg smell.
- Vibration: This is an issue mostly when it comes to long term wine storage. Vibrations can disturb the sediment in the wine and it will not be able to stay at one place. While sediment isn’t something harmful to your health it’s not that pleasant to look at. So it’s best to avoid vibrations if you’re looking for a clear glass of wine.
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Where to store your wine
Before you decide on where to store your wine, it is important to know if the bottle you’ve chosen is suitable for long term storage. Most widely available wines aren’t meant to be stored for more than a couple of months so they will be fine staying at room temperature.
This category includes wines of the Nouveau type, such as a Beaujolais Nouveau, which are meant to be consumed young, since nouveau literally means young in French, or any wines that are made for immediate consumption and have been aged for some time before being put on the market.
If you prefer red wines that get better with age, like a Nebbiolo or a Cabernet Sauvignon, it is important to find the ideal wine storage conditions, according to your space and budget. Let’s take a look at some of the best and worst places to keep your wine bottles if you’re storing wines at room temperature.
It is recommended that you properly store wine in a cool, dark place. Finding the correct white wine storage temperature will allow for the best-tasting experience whenever you decide to indulge!
Best places to store wine at room temperature
As we already mentioned, in order to properly store wine, it must be placed in a cool, dark place and in a horizontal position. This principle applies to all types that are meant for long term storage, even sparkling wines.
If you have a basement available then that is pretty close to having a wine cellar. It’s cool throughout the year and away from sunlight so your wines will be at the most ideal room temperature. If you’re a bit of a craftsman you can build a couple of wine racks and have your own cellar without breaking the bank.
Even if you don’t have a basement, you must have a closet. Place your wines at the bottom of your closet, preferably on a rack, and use a container with water to keep the corks of the bottles moist so that oxygen doesn’t pass through.
Where NOT to store wine
You will want to avoid any place that is hot, sunlit and prone to vibrations. Oxygen is a factor that we will have to deal with since we can’t really avoid it.
Many people tend to store their wines in a wine rack on the kitchen counter, and this is something I definitely don’t recommend. The room temperature of the kitchen is above ideal, especially when the stove is on. It’s also generally a sunlit room and since it’s frequently visited it’s also more prone to vibrations. Therefore, storing wines in the kitchen for any length of time is not recommended.
Attic or Garage
These spaces are generally not adequately insulated which means that the temperatures fluctuate throughout the year and wine needs to be stored at a relatively standard temperature all year long. Heat in the house will rise up into the attic.
While you can place your bottle in the fridge to bring it to an ideal temperature before serving it, fridges are too cold and too dry to allow the wine to age properly. You can store wine in the fridge for up to a month if it is corked and for a couple of days if you opened it but didn’t finish the whole bottle, without any issues.
Long term, the fridge is not the place to store your wine.
According to research conducted by the Sonoma State University, most people usually drink the wine they’ve bought within one or two weeks after purchasing it, therefore there is little to no risk of it being damaged by the factors we mentioned. If you are storing your wine at room temperature for extended periods of time make sure to keep it in a dark and cool place in order to fully appreciate its potential.