- What's Wine?
- Why Wine?
- How to Store Wine?
- Wine Serving Temperature
Wine is an alcoholic beverage made from fermented grapes or other fruits. Due to a natural chemical balance, grapes ferment without the addition of sugars, acids, enzymes, water, or other nutrients.
Yeast consumes the sugar in the grapes and converts it to ethanol and carbon dioxide.
Different varieties of grapes and strains of yeasts produce different styles of wine. These variations result from the complex interactions between the biochemical development of the grape, the reactions involved in fermentation, the terroir (the special characteristics imparted by geography, geology, climate and plant genetics) and subsequent appellation (the legally defined and protected geographical indication used to identify where the grapes for a wine were grown), along with human intervention in the overall process.
8 Health Benefits of Drinking Wine (Sources: Food & Wine )
The Benefit: Promotes Longevity
The Evidence: Wine drinkers have a 34 percent lower mortality rate than beer or spirits drinkers. Source: a Finnish study of 2,468 men over a 29-year period, published in the Journals of Gerontology, 2007.
The Benefit: Reduces Heart-Attack Risk
The Evidence: Moderate drinkers suffering from high blood pressure are 30 percent less likely to have a heart attack than nondrinkers. Source: a 16-year Harvard School of Public Health study of 11,711 men, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, 2007.
The Benefit: Lowers Risk of Heart Disease
The Evidence: Red-wine tannins contain procyanidins, which protect against heart disease. Wines from Sardinia and southwest France have more procyanidins than other wines. Source: a study at Queen Mary University in London, published in Nature, 2006.
The Benefit: Reduces Risk of Type 2 Diabetes
The Evidence: Moderate drinkers have 30 percent less risk than nondrinkers of developing type 2 diabetes. Source: research on 369,862 individuals studied over an average of 12 years each, at Amsterdam's VU University Medical Center, published in Diabetes Care, 2005.
The Benefit: Lowers Risk of Stroke
The Evidence: The possibility of suffering a blood clotrelated stroke drops by about 50 percent in people who consume moderate amounts of alcohol. Source: a Columbia University study of 3,176 individuals over an eight-year period, published in Stroke, 2006.
The Benefit: Cuts Risk of Cataracts
The Evidence: Moderate drinkers are 32 percent less likely to get cataracts than nondrinkers; those who consume wine are 43 percent less likely to develop cataracts than those drinking mainly beer. Source: a study of 1,379 individuals in Iceland, published in Nature, 2003.
The Benefit: Cuts Risk of Colon Cancer
The Evidence: Moderate consumption of wine (especially red) cuts the risk of colon cancer by 45 percent. Source: a Stony Brook University study of 2,291 individuals over a four-year period, published in the American Journal of Gastroenterology, 2005.
The Benefit: Slows Brain Decline
The Evidence: Brain function declines at a markedly faster rate in nondrinkers than in moderate drinkers. Source: a Columbia University study of 1,416 people, published in Neuroepidemiology, 2006.
How to Store Wine?
7 Basics You Need to Know (Sources: Wine Spectator)
Tips on keeping your fine wines at their best without spending a lot
So you bought some wine that you’re not planning on drinking right away. Now what do you do with it?
First off, it’s useful to remember that only a small percentage of fine wines on the market benefit from long-term aging. Most wines are best enjoyed within a few years of release. If you’re looking to buy wines to mature, you should really consider investing in professional-grade storage—a totally different ballgame
For everyone else, however, following a few simple guidelines should keep your wines safe until you’re ready to drink them.
1. Keep It Cool
Heat is enemy number one for wine. Temperatures higher than 70° F will age a wine more quickly than is usually desirable. And if it gets too much hotter, your wine may get “cooked,” resulting in flat aromas and flavors. The ideal temperature range is between 45° F and 65° F (and 55° F is often cited as close to perfect), though this isn’t an exact science. Don’t fret too much if your storage runs a couple degrees warmer, as long as you’re opening the bottles within a few years from their release.
2. But Not Too Cool
Keeping wines in your household refrigerator is fine for up to a couple months, but it’s not a good bet for the longer term. The average fridge temp falls well below 45° F to safely store perishable foods, and the lack of moisture could eventually dry out corks, which might allow air to seep into the bottles and damage the wine. Also, don’t keep your wine somewhere it could freeze (an unheated garage in winter, forgotten for hours in the freezer). If the liquid starts turning to ice, it could expand enough to push the cork out.
3. Steady as She Goes
More important than worrying about achieving a perfect 55°F is avoiding the landmines of rapid, extreme or frequent temperature swings. On top of cooked flavors, the expansion and contraction of the liquid inside the bottle might push the cork out or cause seepage. Aim for consistency, but don’t get paranoid about minor temperature fluctuations; wines may see worse in transit from the winery to the store. (Even if heat has caused wine to seep out past the cork, that doesn’t always mean the wine is ruined. There’s no way to know until you open it—it could still be delicious.)
4. Turn the Lights Off
Light, especially sunlight, can pose a potential problem for long-term storage. The sun’s UV rays can degrade and prematurely age wine. One of the reasons why vintners use colored glass bottles? They’re like sunglasses for wine. Light from household bulbs probably won’t damage the wine itself, but can fade your labels in the long run. Incandescent bulbs may be a bit safer than fluorescent bulbs, which do emit very small amounts of ultraviolet light.
5. Don’t Sweat the Humidity
Conventional wisdom says that wines should be stored at an ideal humidity level of 70 percent. The theory goes that dry air will dry out the corks, which would let air into the bottle and spoil the wine. Yes, this does happen, but unless you live in a desert or in arctic conditions, it probably won’t happen to you. (Or if you’re laying down bottles for 10 or more years, but then we’re back to the matter of professional storage.) Anywhere between 50 percent and 80 percent humidity is considered safe, and placing a pan of water in your storage area can improve conditions. Conversely, extremely damp conditions can promote mold. This won’t affect a properly sealed wine, but can damage the labels. A dehumidifier can fix that.
6. See Things Sideways
Traditionally, bottles have been stored on their sides in order to keep the liquid up against the cork, which theoretically should keep the cork from drying out. If you’re planning on drinking these bottles in the near- to mid-term, or if the bottles have alternative closures (screw caps, glass or plastic corks), this is not necessary. We will say this, however: Horizontal racking is a space-efficient way to store your bottles, and it definitely can’t harm your wines.
7. Not a Whole Lot of Shaking
There are theories that vibration could damage wine in the long term by speeding up the chemical reactions in the liquid. Some serious collectors fret about even the subtle vibrations caused by electronic appliances, though there’s little evidence documenting the impacts of this. Significant vibrations could possibly disturb the sediment in older wines and keep them from settling, potentially making them unpleasantly gritty. Unless you live above a train station or are hosting rock concerts, is this likely to be a problem for your short-term storage? No. (But don’t go shaking your wines like a Super Bowl MVP about to spray a bottle of Champagne around the locker room.)
So Where Should I Keep My Bottles?
If you haven’t been blessed with a cool, not-too-damp basement that can double as a cellar, you can improvise with some simple racks in a safe place. Rule out your kitchen, laundry room or boiler room, where hot temperatures could affect your wines, and look for a location not directly in line with light pouring in from a window. You could also buy a small wine cooler and follow the same guidelines: If you keep your wine fridge in a cool place, it won’t have to work so hard, keeping your energy bill down.
Perhaps there is a little-used closet or other vacant storage area that could be repurposed for storing wine? If you have a suitable dark, stable space that’s not too damp or dry, but it is too warm, you might consider investing in a standalone cooling unit specifically designed for wine. There are some inexpensive systems for small spaces, but in most cases, this is getting into professional wine storage.
When is it time to upgrade your storage conditions? Ask yourself this: How much did you spend last year on your wine habit? If a $1,000 cooling unit represents less than 25 percent of your annual wine-buying budget, it’s time to think about it more carefully. Might as well protect your investment.
One other piece of advice from collectors: Whatever number you’re thinking of when it comes to bottle capacity, double it. Once you’ve started accumulating wines to drink later, it’s hard to stop.
Read more: Constructing a Cellar provides details on professional wine storage, including cooling units, insulation and more.
If I Want to Buy a Wine Cooler, What Should I Look For?
Wine coolers are, at their most basic, standalone units designed to maintain a consistent temperature—sometimes one suitable for serving rather than long-term storage—whereas a wine cellar is a cabinet or an entire room that stores wine in optimal conditions for long-term aging: a consistent temperature (about 55° F), with humidity control and some way to keep the wine away from light and vibration.
Units vary in how much access you’ll have to your bottles, so consider both 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 itself is something to ponder. Is it more important for you to see the bottles or protect them from light? Is the glass clear, tempered, tinted, double-paned or UV-resistant? Make sure the door opens on the correct side for where you’re placing it—not every unit has reversible doors. Some models have locks or even alarms.
More expensive units may have multiple temperature zones, which is a nice feature if you want to keep your reds at one temperature and your whites at a cooler, more ready-to-drink temperature. Humidity controls are also helpful. Do your best to find a unit that is quiet—you’d be surprised just how loud the things can get. 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.
Wine Serving Temperature
Does serving wine at certain temperatures affect how the wine tastes? Are there ideal temperatures at which to serve different types of wine? Yes, Yes! Knowing what wines to serve at what temperatures is much easier than you might think.
The Wine Temperature Serving Guide
The reason we try to serve wine at their correct temperatures is because the temperature can dramatically impact the way a wine smells and tastes. By serving the wine at its ideal temperature, we ensure we have the best experience.
Here are three general rules that should serve you well:
Sparking Wine Should Be Served Ice Cold — 40 to 50 degrees
We like to put our bubbly in the freezer about an hour before we pop it – but don’t forget about it or you’ll have an explosion. If you’re short on time, you can also place the bottle in an ice bucket for 30 minutes and have similar results. The ice cold temperature will keep the bubbles fine rather than foamy. After you open the bottle and pour the first glasses, you should place the open bottle on ice until the entire bottle is finished.
White Wine And Rosé Should Be Served Cold — 50 to 60 degrees
The best way to get white wine and rose cold is to place it in the fridge immediately after buying it; however, if you buy the wine the same day you want to drink it, either leave it in the fridge for several hours, or you can place it in the freezer for about 30 minutes. That should do the trick! After opening the bottle and pouring everyone their first glass, we prefer not to place it on ice, but instead let the bottle sweat on the table, as the wine’s aromas and character changes slightly as the temperature rises, which we love.
Red Wine Should Be Served Cool — 60 to 70 degrees
The most common misconception with red wine is that it is ideal to serve it at room temperature, when in fact serving it cool is the best way to enjoy it. To cool red down to its proper temperature, we like to place it in the fridge an hour before serving it. For quicker results, you can put it in the freezer for just 15 minutes. After opening and either decanting or pouring the first glasses, just as with white we like leaving the wine out on the table to slowly warm.