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Storing wine at home is convenient in a variety of ways. It alleviates the strain of last-minute shopping, and eliminates the disappointment suffered when a favorite wine isn’t available. Most importantly, though, is that it’s a good investment. For a moment, compare wine to money.

Money we place in any type of savings account earns interest. The longer we allow it to accumulate interest – the more we will benefit. It’s worth more than our initial investment at the time we withdraw it. Our money pays dividends, and the same is true for wine!

Properly stored, many wines (including all of those termed as “table wines”) will develop a fuller body, smoother taste, richer bouquet and more developed flavor. Whether you choose to personally enjoy the benefits of this longer maturation process (or perhaps give away as gifts or even sell), you will realize the enhanced value gleaned from successful lengthy storage.

Bottles should be stored on their sides, not upright, to keep the corks moist. (The cork is porous, allowing just enough air to keep the wine alive. A dried out cork will shrink, allowing too much air to enter the bottle, eventually ruining the wine.)

Even temperature is a must — an even 55°F is ideal, 70°F is the absolute maximum. Too cold is nearly as bad as too hot. Humidity of 70% or more is preferable.

Avoid sunlight, which makes wine musty and erodes color. Though not elegant, a closet shelf or beneath little used basement stairs are better alternatives than in a kitchen cabinet or pantry. Ideal storage should be away from all vibrations and movement, and chemicals of any kind.

Length of successful aging depends on many factors. Wine is a living thing, so it undergoes subtle changes as it matures. Guidelines: Reds may be stored 6 to 10 years, some longer. Whites should be enjoyed relatively young, 2 to 3 years.

Protect your investment. Research each individual wine prior to aging to determine the timeline most advantageous for that special bottle or bottles of wine.

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Tracie Burket
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