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Don't ruin your red wine collection! Follow these essential wine storage rules to the letter

by , 26 March 2014

When it comes to fine wine, there's nothing better than sipping on a perfectly aged red wine. And waiting long enough to open a bottle of Cabernet, Pinotage and Shiraz can mean the difference between merely enjoying a wine and being blown away by its true potential. But here's the thing: Ageing wine can go horribly wrong. To make sure this doesn't happen to you, follow these essential wine storage tips.

Follow these five tips and you’ll always store your red wine correctly

Here’s what Wine Spectator suggests you do when storing red wine:

#1: Get the temperature right
Whether it’s too hot or too cold, temperature is the supreme enemy of your red wine collection. The optimum storage temperature for a bottle of red wine is between 7C and 18C. Anything above or below this and the aroma of your wine will suffer.

#2: Keep the lights down low
If you plan to store red wine for a few years, make sure you do it somewhere where there’s no direct sunlight. This because the sun’s UV rays can degrade and prematurely age the wine you have in storage.

#3: Don’t discount humidity
If you store your red wine where the humidity is high, it can promote the growth of mould. Store it in a place that’s too dry, however, and the bottle’s cork could dry out. Either way, you’ll spoil a bottle of fine wine and won’t be able to drink it.

So rule out your kitchen or pantry where hot temperatures and high humidity factors could ruin your wine. And make sure the area you do store your wines in has an average humidity level of around 70%.

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#4: Think sideways
Stack your fine wines on their side to prevent the cork from drying out. If it does, the bottle becomes aerated and this will spoil your wine.

#5: There’s no such thing as a good vibration
Continued vibration (or shaking) speeds up the chemical reactions in red wine and can turn a good wine bad really quickly. It can also disturb the sediment in older wines and keep them from settling down resulting in a gritty, sandy textured drink. So avoid storing your wine near a place where vibration is rife like next to your washing machine.

This easy-to-spot sign will tell you if a red wine has been stored correctly

So what happens if you come across an unfamiliar bottle of red wine that you’d like to try but are scared it won’t be good?

In a recent article, the Citizen offered this advice: “Look to see how much wine has ‘bled’ through the cork: If the level in the bottle is more than 2cm below the cork, when the bottle is standing vertically, poor storage may have ruined its prospects. But if the levels are good and the brand name is familiar, take the chance” and open the bottle.

Soon you’ll be sipping on a beautifully aged wine that shows off its potential to perfection.

Don't ruin your red wine collection! Follow these essential wine storage rules to the letter
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