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!


Wine Storage with a Freezer and a Microwave?

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I was catching up on some reading recently when I came upon an article from James Laube in Wine Spectator. He’s been a wine writer for Wine Spectator since 1980, is very well respected and one of my favorites. But his piece titled “Ice Age” had me scratching my head. I had to check the date on the edition — Was it an April Fool’s Edition? No, it was actually the edition from October 31, 2018.

Having been a wine writer for so many years, Laube stated that the most common question he gets is “How do you preserve an open bottle of wine?” I expected to hear a bunch of the most common ways — in the frig, in a cool dark place, sealed with a stopper that allows the air to be pumped out, etc. But, that’s not what this wine legend recommended. Instead, he recommends the use of a freezer and a microwave!

Now, a freezer and microwave are couple of the last places I’d ever expect an opened bottle to end up. But, he’s used this process for decades when he wants to preserve a nice bottle for a few days or longer. He acknowledges “that freezing wine sounds preposterous to many wine lovers” but he says it works quite well.

He recommends placing the cork back in the bottle of wine and sticking it in the freezer. Then, when you’re ready to drink the wine again, simply pop the frozen bottle of wine in the microwave for 15 to 20 seconds. That he says “…renders a wine that looks like a Slurpee, ice shavings and all.” You can then put it through second short cycle in the microwave “and then it’s ready.

Really? I’m not sure I’d do this with a cheap bottle of wine. But Laube is drinking, freezing and microwaving the good stuff! He claims “But one you try it — and discover for yourself that the wine is fine after thawing — you’ll be hooked.

So, maybe I’ll give this a try. That is, if I ever end up with a nice bottle of wine that I haven’t emptied! Cheers!