How to store fine wine

What is the best way to store fine wine?

Unless you own an underground wine cellar you're probably in the same situation as most customers of Coolersomm with wine bottles strewn around the home, tucked into cupboards and heaped onto wine racks where it can be prematurely aged by UV light, vibration, humidity and curious teenagers!

The best way to keep your fine wine safe over the longer term is to invest in a wine cooler that contains the right technology for long term wine maturation, and possibly a lock and key!

When storing fine wine over the longer term there are a few things to keep in mind when choosing which wine storage unit will be best for you and your home.

It may surprise you, but the most important factor in your purchase is actually where the wine cooler  will be placed. Will the wine cooler be inside the home and therefore at a static, warm ambient temperature or outside in an outbuilding or garage where the temperatures can change throughout the day and over the seasons?

If you are placing your wine cooler cabinet outside the home you'll need to ensure that it is fitted with a 'winter system'. A winter system is a heating device pre-installed in many freestanding wine fridges including Climadiff and Swisscave wine coolers that can bring the temperature inside the fridge up as well as down. Without this technology, a wine cooler left in a cold place could potentially overwork and break inside your warranty period.

Once you're happy with the placement of the wine cabinet the next assessment to make is whether you wish to keep your entire wine collection at one temperature or want to mature your wine at different temperatures. A dual or multi-zone wine cooler allows for the storage of wine at different temperatures and gives the flexibility to use part of the wine cooler for storage and part for service. It is recommended, for both red, white and sparkling, that wine to be matured over the longer term should be held at around 12c.

Once you've chosen the temperature controls it's time to think about what features are most important to you and your collection. All premium wine coolers contain automatic humidity management  and anti-vibration technology but some features are specific to some brands and will add to protection of your wine collection.

Carbon Filters - An activated charcoal filter is used to remove any bad odours, as it is a purifying substance often used to purify water. Most premium wine cabinets including Swisscave and Eurocave have these fitted as standard.

Humidity Management - Some wine fridges allow you to actively manage the humidity levels while most now have automatic humidity controls. An overly humid wine cooler will cause the labels to come away from your bottles and worse, could impact the cork and taint the wine.

External Lock and audible alarms - Those pesky teenagers don't just ransack your wine collection, the younger kids can also press all the buttons and change the temperature settings. If you have children at home it may be a good idea to activate child lock settings on the temperature controls and use an actual lock to prevent teenage temptation.

Premium Shelving - most wine coolers come with wooden slats meaning they need to be emptied to be pulled out. However, premium wine coolers like Swisscave and some Dunavox units have sliding shelves allowing instant access to your wine with no stacking. If displaying your wines through the glass is important to you then look for display shelving or label facing shelving options.

Maintaining excellent wine storage

After choosing your wine cabinet there are maintenance tips to ensuring your wine stays protected whilst inside the wine cooler. Here are our top 5 tips to ensure you help your new wine cabinet mature your wine rather than working against it!

Leave your wine alone - it can be tempting to open the door and check on your wine collection especially when your wine cooler is new, try to refrain from disturbing your wine if at all possible as constantly opening the door will disturb the temperature setting.

Change the carbon filter - if your new wine fridge came with a carbon filter that's great. The only downside is that they need replacing every 6-12 months. If you don't replace them, the cabinet may accumulate condensation due to limited air flow or develop mould.

Clean the inside and outside of your wine cabinet - nothing prematurely ages a wine cooler's life expectancy than dust and dirt inside it's working parts!

Allow your wine cabinet to vent - don't put things on top of your wine cooler and leave a gap of at least 2-3 inches all around it to allow it to expel hot air.

Keep your wine collection topped up - a wine cooler with nothing to cool struggles to maintain temperature. Try not to leave sections of your wine cooler empty and fill the gaps with cheaper bottles if necessary.

Use the chat facility to speak to one of our wine storage team.

Sarah newton

Author - Sarah Newton

Sarah Newton has worked in the wine industry for two decades holding senior positions at some of the UK wine industry's leading brands. The MD of Coolersomm, Sarah is WSET certified and our lead wine buyer too.