Proper Wine Storage -- It's Starts at the Store!

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A lot of people are concerned with ensuring that they store their wine properly. And, that’s important. But to ensure you are getting a wine that’s at its best, you also need to take into consideration the store where you’re buying your wine.

Sure, there are potential storage issues between the winery and the store. Like the method of shipment and the time of year (e.g., getting too hot). But, how your local wine shop or store handles your wine is very important because it may sit on the shelf for a longer period of time.

While visiting the eastern U.S. last winter, I took a short snowy walk to a place where I’ve purchased wine before. While it was below freezing outside, the store was nice and warm. But, that caused me to pause. As I took off my layers to be comfortable while shopping, it struck me that it was probably in the high 70s F in the store, if not 80 degrees. While that’s a comfortable temperature for shoppers on a cold winter day, that’s not anywhere near an ideal temperature for a wine.

Maybe you’ve noticed that most grocery stores are kept quite cool. That’s intentional to help keep their merchandise as fresh as possible. And that’s especially true for wine. While most guidance for wine storage is in the 50s F, even a “cool” temperature in a store will be in the high 60s. While that’s fine for short amount of time, finding an older bottle of a nice wine that been sitting at nearly 80 degrees F for who knows how long, could be an issue.

So, just keep in mind that while you may have the ideal wine storage system at home, you also must ensure that the wine you’re putting into it has not been damaged while in the store.

Oh! And also consider where the wine is placed within the store. I’ve seen too many wine shelves in direct sunlight. That’s not good either!

Cheers!

Ever Wonder? - Does White Wine have to be Chilled?

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A few months back a friend of mine told me that, in the past, he really didn’t like white wine. He said white wines just didn’t have as much flavor as red wines. He preferred the flavors of a red wine.

But, on a wine tasting trip he went ahead and tried a Chardonnay. And he really liked it!

What was immediately obvious to him was that the Chardonnay was very lightly chilled as opposed to refrigerator temperature.

His experience with white wines had all been with very cold white wines. And the chill had taken all the flavor out of the wine.

This is indeed true. And, often the reason that people like their wines (including red wines) heavily chilled — to make them have less flavor.

So, the answer to the question is no, white doesn’t have to be chilled at all. But a light chill will allow you to experience the white wine as it was intended by the winemaker.

A rule-of-thumb that I’ve always used is that for white wine is that you should take the bottle out of a standard refrigerator (which is typically 35-40 degrees F) approximately 30 minutes before you want to serve it. That should leave a chill on it. Or, if you own a wine refrigerator, you probably already know that it should be set to approximately 50 degrees F for white wines.

But, as my friend found out, the serving temperature of wine generally is a matter of personal preference. Whatever your preference, enjoy!