Another exciting installment on wine!

While I’ve read that statistically most wine is consumed on the day of purchase, for those like us who prefer to keep at least a few bottles on hand, a couple pointers are in order.  One common feature in modern kitchens is a wine rack built into the cabinetry.  Our home is no different, and we’ve only begun storing no wine in the kitchen this past year.  Two primary problems with storing wine in your kitchen are the hot and often dry air, and the significant light to which the bottle is likely exposed.  Here’s the scoop:

  • Problem 1 – The heat will impact your wine in two ways; first the wine itself will age rapidly, potentially changing the flavor between purchase and consumption.  Second, if your wine is sealed with a traditional cork, the heat and dry air will cause the cork to become more porous, letting in oxygen which will further speed your wine’s tendency to turn to vinegar.  This all results because the kitchen is often one of the warmer rooms in the house since it is a primary living area, and it’s where all the cooking takes place (excluding grilling season, of course).
  • Problem 2 – The second problem with the kitchen is the light.  Like heat, this can lead to advanced aging in the wine.  Wine’s natural state would be to sit in an underground cave (cool, wet, and dark), so if you are going to store any bottles for an extended period of time you should try to simulate those conditions.  A couple months in a non-ideal location is fine, but if you have that one special bottle you are saving for some occasion, you’ll want to plan an appropriate place for that bottle to hide.

Don’t feel bad if you keep your wine in the kitchen; when we lived in our townhouse, we actually stored our wine within 3 feet of the stove.  What the heck did we know?  Another area that may seem safe within the kitchen is the refrigerator.  This is better, but a refrigerator will be both colder and dryer than the wine would prefer, and you shouldn’t keep unopened bottles in a standard refrigerator for longer than a couple months.

Have you ever had your wine in a disposable paper or Styrofoam cup at a party?  Me, too, and it’s just not as good.  While you can certainly go overboard with stemware, you should try to drink your wine in either glass or permanent plastic cups.  These will avoid having any of the cup materials leach into the wine, because who really wants to taste the chemicals used to make Styrofoam?  The shape of the glass is also important.  Scent is an significant contributor to our tastes, and you’ll want a glass large enough to swirl the wine to release extra aromas to increase your enjoyment.  The shape of many wine glasses is slightly (or significantly) smaller at the opening than in the bowl of the glass, which also helps to contain the aromas for your consumption.  If you don’t have glasses, or if you need some for safe travel and picnics, you can find some pretty cheap ones here.  Stacy and I will likely be getting some before long.  How can you beat unbreakable and dishwasher safe?

Yes…it is a screw cap, and yes it is still a good wine!