Whether a few bottles or a vast collection, wine must be stored properly to avoid spoilage

Wine Institute’s latest statistics from 2016 showed Americans drank 949 million gallons that year. Consumption has increased steadily year after year; in 2000, 568 million gallons were consumed.

Whether a few bottles or a vast collection, wine must be stored properly to avoid spoilage.

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Winespectator.com’s main storage do’s include:

— Temperature: Above 70 degrees F ages a wine too quickly, while freezing might dislodge the cork. The ideal range is 45 to 65 degrees F, with 55 degrees F as the “close to perfect” wine storage temperature.

— Light: Too much can degrade and prematurely age wine. Find a dark storage spot.
Wine coolers and cellars include racks for storing wine sideways to keep the liquid against the cork and prevent the cork from drying out. However, wine consumed within a few days or weeks of purchase need not be stored sideways.

If looking to buy a standalone wine cooler, Wine Spectator advises:

— Consider how well you’ll be able to see what’s inside and how easy it will be to grab a bottle when you want it. Are the bottles stacked? Are there shelves that slide out? Consider the size and shape of the bottles you collect, and the way the bottles fit into the racks — are they very wide, tall or unusually shaped, if they’ll even fit at all?

— The door: Is it more important for you to see the bottles through clear glass or protect them from light with a tint or UV protection?

— Find a unit that is quiet.

— The more you spend, the better the materials should be, such as aluminum shelves that will conduct cool temperatures better than plastic ones, or a rough interior that will be better for humidity than a smooth one.

For those interested in aging wine, a cellar with plenty of storage may be in order. Horizontal wine racks can purchased online. Or, DIY.

When the wine room or cellar’s type, size and design are determined, temperature, humidity, ventilation and darkness are key factors. Sometimes a basement works, as long as it can maintain the right temperature in summer months.

Winecellarinnovations.com offers specific plans and details for DIY and shares that any home can provide significant wine storage, “but the location that you choose will have a future impact on the cost of maintaining your cellar. A wine cellar should be placed in the coolest and most humid place in your home.”