One of the few good things to have come out of the pandemic is that mail order sales of wine have increased considerably. Normally this will mean that you end up buying wine by the case and need somewhere to store it.
It wasn’t so long ago that some research was carried out in the United States which showed that the average length of time between the purchase of a bottle of wine and its being opened was roughly eighty minutes.
How things have changed!
Cellars are historical but rare
Historically the place for keeping your wine was in the cellar, but, nowadays, these have become something of a rarity. When I lived in Burgundy, I was blessed with a cellar-worthy of the region.
It had a gravel floor and even a stillage on which we could have kept our row of casks – if we had had them. Since we have returned to Britain we have had to adapt.
Short and long-term consumption
Of course, much of the wine we all drink is bought for short-term consumption, but we have the special bottles that will improve with ageing and demand cosseting.
Ideally, these bottles should be stored, lying horizontally, in a place with a constant temperature, somewhere around 8˚C, where they are not exposed to light and where they will be undisturbed.
Where do you find this? In our last house, the best solution we could find was putting our wine rack in an insulated cupboard in our bathroom!
Research into storing wine at home
Some years ago, the Burgundy company Moillard carried out some research on storing wine. They gave twenty European wine-writers, of which I was fortunate enough to be one, six bottles of Meursault, which would be tasted at six-monthly intervals.
First of all, though, we had each to give full details as to where the wine would be stored, and these were all rated.
Unsurprisingly, my bathroom appeared next to the bottom, just above someone who kept their wine in a broom cupboard, which was regularly rattled by the Métro trains passing underneath.
Surprisingly, however, when it came to tasting, my bottles always came in the top quartile. Less of a surprise was the fact that the bottles that showed best of all, had been kept in the cellar of a château in Belgium.
Now we have moved and our wine rack is installed in the garage. This is far from ideal, but one small help is that any wine that I have bought by the case I leave unopened as long as I can, with the bottles lying on their side.
This not only shields them from light, but they are also largely insulated against temperature changes.
Wine storage solutions
If you can’t find anywhere to store your wine at home, some wine merchants and a number of specialist warehousing companies will do the job for you, but at a price.
If you do have to go down this route, it is essential that you insist that each case is clearly labelled in your name and ask for a stock certificate – there have been too many stories of bottles evaporating in the wrong hands!
Conclusion: do your best!
Not everyone will have somewhere for the perfect wine storage. So whether you choose your garage or bathroom, as I have done in the past, or find your own solution that works for you, just do your best with what you have.
And if you’re lucky enough to have a cellar, ensure you make the most of it!
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It shouldn’t matter hugely where you store your wine – the most important thing is that you enjoy it.