If you enjoy a good bottle of wine it is useful to know how to properly store it. New Zealand has a unique climate that can be challenging for wine storage. The temperature and humidity levels can vary greatly throughout the year, the country and often the day.
It is important to keep a wine storage area at a consistent temperature and humidity level. A wine fridge or cellar can provide a consistent temperature and humidity level, essential for wine storage. Super creative Kiwis are great at finding a pretty consistent spot.
I've been on boats where wine is long stored between duvets under the squabs on the flying bridge, bach's where wine boxes are stacked against a clay bank in the bush. Or at our house where a pallet on the earth under the house on the southern side is stacked with the reds we keep on hand and the whites that don't fit in the drinks fridge.
In this article, we will provide tips for storing red, white, sparkling, and natural wines. And I would encourage you to be creative if you don't have a glamorous climate-controlled cellar. If you are living in the rarefied world of paid cellaring. This article is more for the wines we all need on hand for the constant flow of entertaining/manaakitanga of being a great local host. ;)
Red Wine Storage
To properly store red wine, it is important to keep it at a consistent temperature between 12-18°C. The ideal temperature for red wine storage is around 14°C. It is also important to store red wine in a dark place to avoid exposure to sunlight. Sunlight can cause wine to age faster and can also alter the taste of the wine. If your wine has a cork, you will want to prevent the cork from drying out, it is recommended to store red wine on its side. It is also recommended to periodically check the wine and assess its condition to ensure it is aging properly.
White Wine Storage
White wines are best stored at a cooler temperature than red wines, between 8-12°C. The ideal temperature for white wine storage is around 10°C. Like red wine, white wine should be stored in a dark place to avoid exposure to sunlight. Unlike red wine, it is not necessary to store white wine on its side as the cork is not as sensitive.
Sparkling Wine Storage
Sparkling wines, such as Champagne, should be stored at a cooler temperature than both red and white wines, between 5-8°C. The ideal temperature for sparkling wine storage is around 7°C. It is important to store sparkling wine in a dark place to avoid exposure to sunlight. To prevent the cork from drying out, it is recommended to store sparkling wine on its side.
Natural Wine Storage
Natural wines have become increasingly popular in New Zealand. Natural wines are made with minimal intervention and additives. To properly store natural wine, it is important to keep it at a consistent temperature between 12-18°C. The ideal temperature for natural wine storage is around 14°C. Like red wine, natural wine should be stored in a dark place to avoid exposure to sunlight. It is recommended to store natural wine standing up allowing the lees to settle. Do not shake!
Proper wine storage is essential for preserving the quality and taste of your wine. Whether you are storing red wine, white wine, sparkling wine, or natural wine, it is important to keep the wine at a consistent temperature, away from sunlight, and on its side to prevent the cork from drying out unless it is a Pet Nat, then standing is best. With the unique climate in New Zealand, it is recommended to store wine in a wine fridge or cellar to ensure the wine is stored at a consistent temperature and humidity level, but the reality is often much more creative.