A good bottle of wine is a special purchase — and just like any special purchase, you want to make sure you are caring for it properly. We understand if you want to drink your bottle of Byrd Vineyard wine immediately after it is delivered to your door (we would never judge you for that!), but sometimes you want to save a bottle for a special occasion.
These simple tips will teach you how to best store your wine for optimal quality — so by the time your next anniversary, promotion, or celebration rolls around your wine will be in perfect condition.
How to properly store your wine
Storing your wine properly is incredibly important as it allows your wine to mature correctly and prevents it from damages and spoilage. Since most bottled red wine can last up to 3 years in storage, it is crucial that you create the best possible setting for your wine to age and wait for your next special occasion.
Store in a place with minimal light
Many people think their kitchen is a logical and convenient place to store their wine collection; however, bright light and high temperatures can oxidize wine, disrupting its natural aging process and resulting in a wine that tastes “off” when opened. Light and heat can also discolor the wine or present an unpleasant and strange odor.
To prevent such spoilage, it is crucial that you store your wine in a part of your home that receives dim to no light at all — such as a closet, wine cellar, or even a dedicated wine fridge. The longer the wine can sit undisturbed and disrupted from light and heat, the better.
Store in a constantly cool place
A constant chilly temperature is equally important in keeping your wine from spoiling. Conditions that are too warm or too cold are a sure-fire way to spoil your wine before ever getting a chance to open it. Ideally, your wine should be stored at around 55 degrees Fahrenheit with humidity.
Storage temperatures that are too cold can result in accidentally freezing your wine, which slows down the wine’s aging process and can even result in leakage from the cork after the water content expands. Conditions that are too warm can actually accelerate the aging process too quickly, leading to spoiled wine with a tangy, astringent flavor that just doesn’t taste right. Too many temperature fluctuations can cause the wine’s cork to expand and contract, allowing air to flow inside the bottle, causing the wine to oxidize.
Another factor to consider, humidity levels, can also affect wine quality. The ideal humidity levels hover around 70%, while too low humidity can cause the cork to dry out and too high humidity can cause mold to form around the bottle’s label.
This is where the benefits of a wine fridge come in, as they allow you to keep your wine at not only a constant temperature, but a consistent humidity level as well. Storing wine in the kitchen or even a nearby closet can drastically change with wine’s temperature and humidity levels with all of the cooking going on nearby. Plus, strong food odors can seep in through the wine’s cork, affecting its taste. Yuck!
Store wine horizontally — and keep it still until opening
While this may seem like a minor logistical detail, storing wine horizontally can actually prolong the life of your wine as it keeps your cork from damaging. When a wine bottle is lying on its side, its cork is able to remain moistened and will keep from drying out. A dried out cork can cause seepage of air into the bottle or a leakage of wine out of the bottle, as well as premature oxidation and aging.
Once you lie your wine down, keep it there — with minimal movement. Many wine enthusiasts theorize that even the smallest of vibrations and movements can disrupt “the fragile string of chemical reactions that motivates wine to mature well” (Compact Appliance). In other words, even just rearranging your wine collection a few times before opening could potentially speed up chemical reactions and affect the wine’s fragile ecosystem.
How long can our high-altitude wines age?
While our Byrd Vineyard wine is perfectly suitable to drink upon arrival at your doorstep, fine wine can be enhanced in taste and complexity as it ages through the years. Our wines have already aged appropriately 10 years in barrels, but a few more years of bottle aging can allow the wine to reveal even more complex aromas and flavors. Balanced wines like ours at Byrd Vineyard are able to withstand a few more years of bottle aging in order to truly shine.
Deciding on how long to age your wine is completely subjective, as are the wine’s aromas, flavors, and many nuances to your palette. Experts recommend aging the wine no longer than 7-10 years — if you can wait that long before giving in to temptation and giving our smooth, beautifully sophisticated wines a try. But trust us, you’ll want to break out your bottle of Byrd Vineyard wine the next time there’s something to celebrate — even if that celebration is just making it through the work week!
Caring for the wine after it has been opened
After opening your bottle of Byrd Vineyard wine, how long will it last? On the off-chance you were unable to finish the bottle in one sitting along with a few friends, it is recommended that you store the wine properly overnight before finishing it off tomorrow.
For best results, be sure to recork the wine promptly or seal tightly with a rubber wine stopper. Store away from light and heat and be sure to finish up the bottle within 3-5 days for optimal taste.
Enjoy with friends, family, and delicious food
When the day comes that you are ready to enjoy your bottle of Byrd Vineyard, we hope that you are celebrating beside plenty of friends, family, and delicious food. Our wine is best served alongside loved ones, happy memories, and perhaps a platter of cheese!