Storing Wine | Do's and Don'ts

Wine bottles stacked up in underground stone cellar


One of the most important elements to keeping your wine safe and stored correctly is the temperature. For anyone living in Melbourne, or anywhere else with unpredictable weather, it is incredibly difficult to know how hot or cold your house will be day to day. Long term storage of wine is best at the temperature of 13-14ºC. Always avoid letting it creep over 20ºC or under 0ºC as this can have detrimental effects to any bottle, whether it be accelerated aging and added fermentation or freezing the wine all together. Nobody wants a ‘cooked’ wine with extremely sour tastes.

Overall, whichever temperature you can keep your wine at, within the range of 10-15ºC ensure it doesn’t fluctuate, this is where the weather can really impact the wines if not in a regulated temperature space.

Vertical vs Horizontal

Less of an issue in Australia, but more for convenience, horizontal is ideal. For wines sealed by cork it is always suggested to have them lying on the side to keep the cork moist and prevent it from shrinking or drying out, letting the wine out and air in! As most bottles are sealed with screw caps in Australia it is less of a major importance, merely easier to store more bottles when racked horizontally than vertically.


UV rays are no good for humans and also happen to be no good for wines. Flavours and aromas of wines can be highly impacted if within direct sunlight for long periods of time. This is due to the light reacting with amino acids in the wine, which can transform it into compounds such as dimethyl disulphide, which do not have a particularly nice aroma or flavour. Ensure your bottles are kept in the dark and inside at all times no matter the aging length.


Don’t jump around near your wine! Whether its a washing machine, treadmill, or loud music systems, the vibrations can shake up a bottle and rouse the resting sediment in the bottles of wine. The unmoving sediment helps to age the wines favourably, so when moved around and shaken up it can have an overwhelming effect on a bottle of wine when you eventually open it up.


To protect the liquid in the bottle you need to consider the liquid in the air. Moisture can vary incredibly day to day, and depending on where you live with a wet and dry season. Therefore, controlling the humidity around the wines is important to keep it out of the extremes. With an arid airspace, cork sealants can dry out quickly and allow the excess oxygen to seep in. Whereas too much humidity can cause sweating and affect the beautiful labels and looks of the bottles that you’ve spent so long aging. Additionally, mould can grow in highly moist areas that can negatively affect the space in which your wines are stored. It is hard to measure yourself but keeping it around 60% humidity is best but as long as you have a stable environment all should work well.

Fridge Types

If you have a small apartment with no cool rooms, or live in an extreme weather environment then it is best to invest in a wine fridge. If you are one to purchase a bottle one day and drink it the next then your regular fridge would be acceptable to chill the wines to the best serving temperature. Yet when you are investing and stocking up your cellar then a wine fridge is a sure investment, keeping your wine at an optimal temperature and humidity. Regular fridges tend to dry out its contents and with all the surrounding foods, the aromas clash and combine to potentially alter your tasting experience.

Open Bottles

Not one to drink a whole bottle of wine in one sitting? Then how do you store it overnight? If you have the ability to re-cork your bottle it will increase the length of time it will last and keep as many of the aromas in each day. Around 3-5 days is the limit of an open bottle’s life. If you can’t recork the bottle then seal it with a nice rubber stopper, or cover as best as you can and place upright in your fridge (if a white).

Wine bottles stacked up in dark underground cellar

Where to keep your wine

Ideal: Cellar, basement, regulated wine room

Compromisable: Garage (make sure it doesn’t get too cold), Linen cupboard, under the stairs, bedroom closet. A lot of these places should stay tempered but using a wine fridge is always ideal.

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