Sampling wines is a great oenophilic experience, but nothing compares to the joy of enjoying all those bottles of Chardonnay, Riesling, and other varieties in the comfort of your home. If you plan to save or store them for future use, you will want to use a wine cooler.
This appliance is designed for wine cooling, keeping the quality of your wines for a period of time. A lot of enthusiasts own one because it takes the guess work out of properly storing wine. However, a lot of people do not know how to properly use a wine cooler to store their wines.
Learn How To Use a Wine Cooler
In order to appreciate a wine cooler, this article will discuss the principles of the proper storage of wine so you will be able to learn how to use a wine cooler. The following are some of the basic guidelines for storing wines on a short term basis.
Keep your wine within 45° F to 65° F
The number one place to avoid when storing wines is anywhere hot. If the storage temperature is higher than 70° F, the taste of your wine will be different, resulting in flat flavors and aromas. Therefore, you should keep your wine at a temperature between 45° F to 65° F.
Some winemakers even advise to preset the wine cooler to 55° F. However, you must check on the temperature because if it falls too low, it also won’t be good for the wine. This might dry the cork and let air in, and eventually spoil the wine.
You should never opt to put it in a freezer because the volume in the bottle can expand and push the cork out. Temperature consistency is important, but minor changes are fine as long as the change is gradual.
Don’t expose the wine to light
Wines are also sensitive to light, specifically the UV rays of the sun. This is one of the major factors that greatly affects the proper maturation of wines.
This is also the reason why wine bottles are dark colored. If you are not using a wine cooler, make sure that you store your wine in a dark place. Use incandescent bulbs, which have less UV light than fluorescent bulbs.
Keep the humidity level of storage between 50% to 80%
Humidity is another important factor in proper wine aging. If the storage for wine is too dry, it can dry out the corks, causing it to shrink and let air into the bottle. If that happens, the wine will get spoiled. Vintners keep their wine cellars at a 70% humidity level. Some put a pan of water with their bottles of wine in storage to improve the humidity level and overall conditions.
Place the bottles on their sides
The sole reason for placing the bottles on their sides is to keep the cork moist and prevent it from drying out. Now if your wines have different closures like screw caps, this method is not necessary, and you will not likely be using a wine cooler in the first place.
Avoid shaking the bottle
Shaking bottles can damage the wine in the long term as some theories say because it causes chemical reactions in the liquid. The motion disturbs the sedimentation process of wine aging, resulting in a gritty wine.
Subtle movement is not a problem, but avoid too much disturbance of the contents of the bottle. Sediment is a byproduct of the aging process as phenolic molecules combine to form tannin polymers that settle out of the liquid. The aging process enhances the flavor of the wine; disturbing the sediment will put the sediment back into the wine.
How to use a wine cooler
When you are using a wine cooler, do not forget to preset it to the right temperature. Then let it do its job to maintain the preset temperature as well as automatically adjust the temperature should the interior get warm or too cold.
Wine coolers are also already designed to adjust the level of humidity suitable for proper wine storage, so this should not be a necessary concern. Aside from this, stocking wine bottles in a wine cooler is also not a problem because they are designed to allow sideward storing, which is the correct way to keep the cork from drying out.
Wine coolers also ensure minimum light exposure so that the wines are protected from UV rays which can damage the wine. Vibration is also minimal. So basically, using a wine cooler requires very little effort. After presetting the temperature, you can leave your wines as is until you are ready to serve them.