At Cedar Creek Ranch and Vineyards, we stick to tradition when it comes to producing the best wines for you. But as the odd phenomenon of canned wine and boxed wine inexplicably rises in popularity, the question arises: what is the best way to store wine?
Wine purists may differ in taste, but they’d all agree that the best wines cannot be found cans or boxes (although some decent brands do offer their wines in such containers). To put this argument to rest, here are some of the best, tried and true ways to store wine.
But first: why do wines go bad?
Oxygen exposure as a result of poor storage turns red wine into vinegar. Once the bottle is open, you have to keep re-corking it after each pour. Oxidization causes rogue yeast in the wine to activate, resulting in the creation of acetic acid. Acetic acid leads to an acidic flavor that wine drinkers dislike.
Signs that wine has gone bad
More to the point, spoilt wine smells like manure or a barnyard. This smell is caused by Brettanomyces, a type of yeast found in alcoholic drinks like wines and beers. Small doses of Brettanomyces are essential for the fermentation process, but too much of it can result in stinky wine.
Another smell associated with bad wine is the acidic smell of vinegar. Vinegar typically has a strong acidic nose wrinkling smell. Or, it has the smell of rotten eggs or cabbage because it has very little oxygen.
Spoilt wine tastes like sauerkraut because of the effect of lactic acid. It may also taste like acetone. Heat damaged wine will have a dull taste. In such a case the cork will also protrude more from the bottle.
A wine that has gone bad looks dull and brown instead of a deep burgundy red. The wine may also have fizzy froth on the surface when poured out.
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How to store wine efficiently
Store bottles horizontally
Begin by purchasing a wine rack because it allows you to store your wine bottles horizontally. When the wine lies on its side, the wine keeps lapping onto the cork, keeping it moist. A moist cork is crucial for the aging process and to prevent environmental factors from affecting the flavor of the wine. Besides, horizontal storage allows one easier access to the bottles. This storage method applies to bottles that feature plastic, glass or metal toppers as well.
Maintain the correct temperature
The temperature of the storage space is crucial for keeping wine fresh because it can ruin the balance of ingredients if too high or low. Even during transportation, the wine loses flavor and becomes dull if the vehicle gets too warm. This is the same thing that happens if the wine cellar is too hot. The general ideal temperature is between 25°F and 68°F for all wines although different wines have been manufactured with different thresholds.
Once you know or settle on an ideal temperature, make every effort not to deviate from it. Keeping the temperature constant prevents the cork from expanding and contracting, which lets air in and out destroying the constitution of the wine.
When serving the wine, let it rest for a few minutes after getting it out of the cellar so that it can come down or up to the correct serving temperature. Serving it right away prevents the wine from releasing its full flavor and aroma. You should follow the rule of thumb that white wines are served colder than red wines. It’s okay to let the red wines attain some warmth in order to enjoy their flavor.
As you might notice, all the above tips presume that wine is stored in bottles. It’s hard to consistently maintain these standards with cans or boxes, since it is harder to keep wine at a consistent temperature in flimsy containers.
Re-cork open bottles
When stored properly, even open bottles of wine can last for up to five days. Recorking open wine promptly after pouring a glass is the secret. Of course, after the first opening of the cork, it may not fit properly back onto the bottle - using a little wax paper on the cork will slip it back in place keeping it secure.
Do not use a broken cork because it won’t keep the wine fresh. Instead, invest in rubber stoppers for wine bottles which create an air tight seal.
Do not store wine in a regular fridge
Investing in a fridge wine may seem unnecessary when one has a regular fridge, but if one loves exotic and expensive wines it’s crucial. This is more especially true if you do not have a space like a cellar where you can store your wines. A wine fridge won’t keep the wine at freezing levels like a regular fridge; instead, it maintains the ideal temperature range mentioned above. Consider expensive wine as an investment and the fridge as a way to safeguard that investment.
Best wine preservation systems
Coravin Model Two Plus Pack
This is the most vouched for and trusted wine preservation system on the market. It’s the perfect investment for wine connoisseurs who invest in expensive wines which they enjoy as a glass or two over extended periods of time. It features a spray that forms a layer of protective argon gas around the bottle keeping away oxygen.
The protection prevents the wine from oxidizing which preserves it flavor and aroma.
Original Vacu Vin
This wine preservation system has been on the market for a long time, and is considered one of the first successful wine vacuums. It works by sucking the air out of the bottle leaving the bottle free from oxidizing agents. The Original Vacu Vin is easy to use when pumping the air out because it will produce a distinctive click when done. It is excellent for preserving both red and white wines.
Wines require a bit more due diligence compared to beers, but it’s very much worth the effort. By doing any of the above, it’s possible to enjoy a sip of a favorite bottle of wine as often as one would like.
Now that you know why bottled wine is easier to store properly, check out our selection of finely cultivated red and white wines or visit us in the Sierra Foothills.
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