Best tips for storing and aging your wine with the award-winning Central Otago winery Waitiri Creek.
Storing wine correctly for either short or long term ageing is a relatively simple task providing a few of the basic rules are understood ahead of the investment – that’s the easy bit. Wine storage presents a multitude of variables that can alter the aging process. Fortunately, award-winning Central Otago boutique winemaker Waitiri Creek shares tips to ensure a bottle's long-term quality.
"It is important to make sure that your wine is stored correctly. This can ensure your wine will last longer, protect and help develop some elements and complexities to your wine's taste," says Alistair Ward, owner and founder of Waitiri Creek.
You may have heard that putting wine into storage is a wise decision for developing mature flavours and preserving the quality. It is essential to remember that not all wines benefit from long-term aging, and most wines are best enjoyed within a few years of their release.
Wines like Pinot Noir, Merlot, Syrah, Chardonnay, Riesling and Cabernet Sauvignon benefit from proper storage and the aging process. In contrast, wines like Rosé, Moscato and any Nouveau wines have little to no aging potential.
For a wine to age well, it needs to be kept in a cool space with a constant temperature of around 12 degrees celsius and zero invasion of light where possible. Most people think it's a good idea to store wine in or near their kitchen. However, this is actually a bad idea.
A kitchen is a place of varying temperatures, from cold blasts from your fridge to heat from the oven. This makes it challenging to store wine correctly. "Ideally, you want to store your wine in a consistently cold place," advises Alistair. Wine needs to be aged in a cool area to prevent spoilage.
For example, Waitiri Creek's newly released 2019 Drummer Pinot Noir is best stored with the bottles lying on their side, in a dark, cool place, away from fluctuating temperatures and light.
Wine needs to be aged in darkness as light, especially sunlight, can degrade and prematurely age wine by oxidizing it.
Wine lovers who want to get serious about their wine storage might want to invest in a dedicated wine refrigerator to age the wine at a consistent temperature. Around 12-13 degrees is best for keeping your wine in premium condition.
Humidity is another important factor in the correct storage of wine. Moderately high humidity is paramount for prolonged cellaring as it helps to stop corks from drying out and losing their seal. "Once the seal because faulty, wine spoils very quickly," advises Alistair.
When storing wine for the long term, try to limit the amount of movement that the bottle receives. Picking up or turning the wine bottles can disrupt the fragile string of chemical reactions that encourages wine to mature well.
When wine has cork closures it should also be stored horizontally, keeping the cork moistened and preventing it from drying out.