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Tuesday 2 May 2023

How to ensure your aged wine emerges from the cellar in top condition

Many wine lovers want to put away a bottle of wine or two for a special occasion. Others prefer to drink their wines when they are fully mature. 

The team from Levantine Hill - one of the leading premium producers in the Yarra Valley ( - has just shared some very useful tips on the best ways to ensure your wine has the best chance of emerging from storage in peak condition.

Of all the factors influencing the quality of stored wine, temperature is perhaps the most important. Unsuitably warm or cold temperatures are a sure way to spoil wine.

In general, the ideal temperature for long-term or short-term wine storage is around 14ºC, but this can vary from wine to wine.

Here are Levantine Hill's top tips. 

Store wines horizontally
For bottles with corks, be sure to store your wine horizontally in a wine rack. Keeping wine on its side helps keep the cork moist, which is key for long-term storage, as a dried out cork can cause seepage and premature aging. While it’s not necessary to keep screw top wine bottles on their sides, horizontal storage is nevertheless an efficient way to store your wines for maximum space and easy access.

Protect Wine from Light
Whether you’re storing it for months, weeks, or days, keep your wine in the dark as much as possible. UV rays from direct sunlight can damage wine’s flavours and aromas.

Store Wine at the Proper Humidity
Humidity extremes in your wine cellar or storage area can also impact your wine’s longevity. At lower humidity levels, your corks can dry out, leaving the wine vulnerable to the effects of oxygen, while higher humidity can cause labels to peel off the bottles, making them difficult to display or sell. In general, your wine cellar humidity should be between 60% and 68%.

Store Wine in a Wine Fridge, Not a Regular Fridge
If you don’t have a wine storage space that’s consistently cool, dark, and moist, a wine refrigerator is a good idea. Unlike a standard refrigerator, which keeps your food very cold and dry, a wine fridge keeps wine between 10-15˚C and at the proper humidity. (A good fridge will also have a cooler setting for Champagne.) Keeping your wine in a separate wine fridge also helps prevent cross-contamination from food odours.

Store Open Bottles of Wine Properly
Stored properly, an opened bottle of wine can last 3-5 days [I'd say 5-7] . The key to extending its shelf life and retain its original qualities is to recork it promptly and tightly, or alternatively use a specialised mechanism such as a Coravin that can preserve wine for a longer period.

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