For that everyday drinking bottle of Beaujolais Villages or a simple Napa Cabernet, your kitchen wine rack or countertop is an easy and relatively harmless choice for storing your wine. But when it comes to a prized vintage of Châteauneuf-du-Pape or Chateau Montelena Cabernet Sauvignon? The kitchen counter is decidedly not the ideal place for storage of such high-quality wine.
Wine expert and author of The Wine Bible Karen MacNeil notes that three things are of the utmost importance in wine storage:
- The environment is cool.
- The bottle is lying on its side or upside down (but not standing upright).
- There is no direct sunlight.
A kitchen counter rarely meets any of those qualifications.
The optimal temperature for wine storage is about 55 degrees Fahrenheit. Placing bottles in the refrigerator is not a good option since this can actually be too chilly because most refrigerators remain at a standard 35 degrees. And the vibrations of a refrigerator are also thought to potentially damage wine as it ages. Leaving bottles at room temperature is another no-no, as modern twenty-first century “room temperature” is far too warm. Such warm temperatures can result in “cooking” a wine, forcing the slow and subtle changes that naturally occur over a long period of time to happen in rapid succession, turning wine into vinegar in the worst cases.
Wine refrigerators are certainly a better option for wine storage than kitchen counters—though we will consider both the pros and cons of this in a future post. A cool, damp, dark basement can definitely do the trick, though for many looking for wine storage in the Menlo Park area, having access to a basement at all can be a challenge. These factors are just a few of the things that inspired Collection 55 to open, offering a secure, environmentally controlled facility in the Bay Area that will preserve the quality of your wines until you decide to enjoy them.