Wine storage

  • Bouteilles at De Vinus Illustribus in Paris

    Bouteilles at De Vinus Illustribus in Paris

    © Atout France/Cédric Helsly

Wine storage

You buy a wine, and the producer or the vendor advises you to keep it for several years before drinking it. Why, and how should wine be stored?

Why?

As they age, wines with a good consistency develop, and their aromas change. In order to age well, the wine must be equipped to stand the test of time: a good level of acidity, powerful tannins (for red wines), and a sufficient alcohol level which gives it substance. Over time, these different components will merge to create a beautiful harmony, as well as a smooth and balanced texture.

The transformation of the wine is also aromatic. The aromas of fresh fruit found in young wines gradually develop into aromas of ripe fruits, and even of jam, while other aromas appear and add delicacy and depth to the wine: aromas of dried flowers, essences of rare wood, notes of leather or undergrowth.

Some essential criteria for storing your wine in good conditions :

Darkness : Natural and artificial light are to be avoided because they affect the quality of the wine, warm it up and accelerate its ageing process. Wine is often stored in dark green bottles for this very reason.

Cool and constant temperature : Around 11 or 12°C when storing wine for a long period (10 years and more) Severe changes in temperature can damage the wine. For this reason, wine should not be stored in the kitchen.

- Horizontal position : Lay the bottles horizontally so that the wine is in constant contact with the cork. This will prevent premature ageing of the wine.

- 75% humidity level : Humidity stops the cork from hardening over time. A hardened cork can allow too much air to enter the bottle, which oxidises the wine. In your cellar, if the air is:

  • too dry: add a bowl of water
  • too humid: use absorbent gravel

- No vibrations : Vibrations can cause the wine to deteriorate, particularly by breaking up its most complex molecules.

- Limited ventilation : Too much ventilation in the wine storage room can damage the wine by causing premature oxidisation.

- No odours : Do not leave bottles in boxes as these will transfer their bad odours to the wines. Use standard wooden cases or shelves.