There’s nothing better than a robust glass of Merlot with a nice cut of steak, or a refreshing glass of rosé by the pool. Whether you’re a natural wine fanatic, a loyal wine club member or love to try new, experimental flavors like orange wine — one of the best ways to take care of your prized bottles is to store them properly. Storing a wine bottle properly not only lengthens its life, it also preserves the taste and ensures that when that “special occasion” rolls around you’ve been saving it for, the bottle won’t disappoint. As a dedicated wine-o myself, I was curious about the top tips from wine experts on how to store wine so it stays good as long as possible, or potentially gets even better with time. I’ve created a guide from what I found, complete with the must-do’s and product recommendations below for wine fridges, racks and even cellars.
Top Tips for Storing Wine
1. Temperature is Everything
When you’re storing wine for long periods of time, one of the most important factors that’ll make or break the quality of your bottles is the temperature of the environment. 55°F is ideal for most bottles, red or white, so if you’ve got one fridge for both set it to this temperature. Never go below 25°F since your wine could freeze and pop off the cork, and avoid going above 68°F as this can speed up the aging process significantly.
You’ll also want to make sure the temperature of your wine in storage stays as consistent as possible, as temperature fluctuations can also take a toll on your blends. Humidity is also an important factor, as you don’t want things too moist or too dry so the cork stays hydrated. Stay in a range between 60-68% humidity for best results.
2. Keep Things Horizontal
Storing wine bottles horizontally is more than just convenient for grabbing them quickly, it’s also important for keeping the cork from drying out. It’s also an efficient use of space and allows you to store more bottles at one time. Most wine fridges and racks are designed to position bottles on their side anyways, but if you’re building your own wine cellar or storage area make sure your bottles stay horizontal.
3. Keep Things Dark and Vibration-Free
UV light can also take a toll on wine’s flavor over time, so keep your storage area as dark as possible. If it’s a short-term wine fridge in your kitchen a transparent door is okay, but longer-term storage solutions should be as dark as possible. There’s a reason wine caves are a thing!
Avoiding lots of vibration, trembling and shaking is also crucial for storing wine properly for long periods of time. So keep your wine collection far away from your large, powerful speaker systems if you can help it.
Quick Note on Storing Opened Bottles
If you frequently open bottles and don’t finish them in one sitting, you’ll be glad to know they can keep for up to 3-5 days with proper sealing. Re-cork the bottle as quickly as possible, and store them at the same temperature as before, upright.
If the cork is still intact, wrap some wax paper around it and slide it back into place to keep the wine’s flavor from turning bitter too quickly. If your cork is out of commission, a rubber stopper will work just as well and creates a solid seal.
Storing and Serving Red vs White Wines
If you want to get really technical and store your wines with exactitude, reds should be served slightly below room temperature at 58-65°F, older wines a little warmer and younger wines a little colder. Red wines with stronger tannins should be warmer and lightweight reds with milder flavors can be served cold, around 55°F. A carafe is a great way to serve red wine to get the best out of the flavor profile.
White wine, on the other hand, should be served colder, between 45-55°F. Sparkling white wines and champagne are best at even colder temperatures, around 38-45°F.
Now let’s run through some storage solutions. I’ve included a variety of options for wine racks, wine fridges and even some cellars which are a bigger investment, but perfect if you’ve got a large wine collection.
1. Homfa Bamboo Wine Rack
This stylish wine rack is made of bamboo and comes in a neutral espresso color that’ll match a variety of decor. It’s got space for books and a shelf on top for accessories like a cork holder, and has space for 16 bottles of wine. There are also racks for wine glasses so you’ve got a one-stop shop for your afternoon glass all in one place. It’s also available in a natural wood color, but I prefer the darker vibes of the one pictured below.
2. ALLCENER Wine Rack With Glass Holder
This affordable wine rack has just enough space to hold six bottles, horizontally of course, and has a decorative design of both metal and wood that looks perfectly rustic. The frame is made of powder-coated steel that’s both oxidation and rust-resistant, and the thick wooden base provides a great foundation. It’s also got slots for a opener and cork storage, and slots where you can store two wine bottles. It’s super easy to put together and would make a great housewarming gift.
3. J.K. Adams Ash Wood 12-Bottle Wine Rack
This simple wooden wine rack has enough space for 12 bottles of wine, and is made from sustainably grown and harvested wood from Vermont, USA. It’s got a modular construction that can be configured in many different ways and comes with a lifetime guarantee. It’s available in both a 12- and 40-bottle size, so if you’ve got a modest collection or are looking to expand it’s a great option.
4. HB Design Co. Countertop Wine Rack
This is another 6 to 8-bottle wine holder with slots big enough to hold many standard-size bottles. It’s made from real wood that’s been treated with a light varnish and has powder-coated matte black metal reinforcing the structure that’s both scratch and bend-resistant. The rustic yet modern design will match most home decor and it won’t take up too much space on your countertop.
5. Ferfil 10-Bottle Wooden Wine Storage Rack
This wine rack is designed to store 10 bottles while using up minimal space, and stands 17.5x5x12 inches when fully expanded. It’s made of eco-friendly wood that’s sturdy and solid, and requires no assembly out of the box. It’s designed to store the bottles horizontally and the staggered design makes it easier to read the labels of the different bottles.
6. Nutrichef Countertop Mini Wine Fridge
This 12-bottle wine fridge is the perfect size for your kitchen or dining room if you want to keep a small collection cold. It’s got precision compressor cooling technology, adjustable temperature control, a fan that circulates air for proper ventilation and LED lights. It’s got a reinforced glass door that produces an airtight seal when shut, and has a temperature range between 41-64°F. It’s designed to operate quietly and can be placed on the floor, countertop or on a table as well.
7. Koolatron Thermoelectric Wine Cooler
This wine fridge from Koolatron has a digital temperature control module that’s easy to use and makes it simple to customize the exact temperature of your wine. The touch screen controls are on the outside of the fridge so you can easily adjust without having to open the door. The fridge also has a mirrored glass door that’s UV-protective so your wine stays out of harsh light, while a subtle LED light inside gently illuminates your collection.
8. Wine Enthusiast 32-Bottle MAX Wine Cooler
This is a larger wine fridge that’s built for larger collections, 32 bottles to be exact. It’s got different zones within the fridge that you can set at different temperatures, with the lower zone meant for long-term aging and the smaller upper zone meant for wine you drink more often. This fridge is built with compressor cooling technology that lasts up to twice as long via thermoelectric cellars, and it has a digital touchscreen on the front so you can easily view and change the temperature of the wine inside.
9. Frigidaire 38-Bottle Wine Fridge
This is an even bigger wine fridge from Frigidaire that has a 38-bottle capacity as well as two different temperature zones so you can easily separate your reds and whites. It’s got a reversible door swing that can be installed to open to the left or to the right, and has a frost-free, fan-forced cooling system that that keeps temperatures consistent. It’s also designed to reduce energy consumption and improve the efficiency of the compressor in general. It’s got five slide-out racks inside for wine as well as LED display lighting so you can show off your favorite bottles. The stainless steel door also has tinted glass with UV protection built in, so your bottles stay protected.
Wine Cellars + Large-Scale Storage
10. Stackable Modular Wine Rack Storage
If you’re looking at building out your own wine caller in a basement and have an extensive collection to take care of, this large wine rack is a great option. It’s got space for 72 different bottles and is made of thick, solid wood with dowel pins that interlock the different shelves together for stability. It’s made of pine wood and is super easy to assemble. It works best with cabernet or merlot bottles, but can also work with pinot noir if you separate the bottles with one of the other types.
11. Lanbo 149-Bottle Freestanding Wine Cellar
This wine cellar from Lanbo is basically just a giant wine fridge with space for a whopping 149 bottles! This is built for storing those ultra-special, ultra-expensive bottles you don’t want anyone getting into. It’s free-standing so you can place it anywhere you’d like, and is designed to operate quietly. It’s got a temperature range of 41-64 degrees, so it’s ideal for most types of wine, and has a door lock so you can keep your collection secure.
It’s got digital touch control for the temperature, an energy-efficient LED light and double-layered tinted glass so your wine isn’t exposed to too much UV light. The stainless steel frame is built to be durable and you can quickly and easily remove the shelves inside to reconfigure the storage if you’d like.
12. EuroCave Premiere S Wine Cellar
This wine cellar is made by the experts over at Wine Enthusiast, and has all the bells and whistles you need to properly store your blends. It’s got a smart design with a whole bunch of features that make it 60% more energy efficient. It’s got a temperature threshold between 32-95°F and is built with an intuitive touch control panel and a remote LED lighting system. It’s got high-quality, low-emission glass doors with UV protection, and visual as well as audible temperature alarms so you know when your wine is being exposed to unsuitable temperatures.