Winemakers use their talent and resources, plus hard work, to painstakingly create wines that satisfy and even delight their customers with wines having excellent flavors and other attributes.
But for the individual to truly enjoy their wine’s potential, they must understand those final critical steps that involve the proper handling, storage, and serving once the wine reaches its destination.
Wheeler Farms, a premier winery with vineyards in St. Helena at the heart of Napa Valley, knows that even the best Cabernet Sauvignon and other varietals and blends can be compromised if subjected to unsatisfactory conditions.
Wine collectors, most specifically, understand that certain wines can be stored for decades and grow in quality and value, but only if all the conditions are right.
To this end, Wheeler Farms offers a few tips for storing and serving their top-end wines so their customers can realize the full value of their wine purchases.
How to Store Your Wines
Know the Right Storage Temperature
Storing wines at the proper temperature is the first and most crucial factor for ensuring the wine retains the characteristics the winemaker intended. Note that while 55°F is generally considered an acceptable temperature for storing wines, at least for the short term, it is best to consult the source winery for their recommendation.
Wines held at very cold temperatures can damage or even freeze the wine. Conversely, a warm environment above 68°F accelerates aging and can alter the flavors by destroying the volatile compounds in the wine.
The adage about storing and serving red wines at room temperature is no longer considered valid by experts since room temperatures today vary significantly, most often higher than 68°.
Maintain a Constant Temperature and Humidity
The storage environment must be maintained at a constant temperature to preserve the quality of the wine and, in some instances, improve it with age. Variations not only affect the wine quality but can also cause the cork to expand and contract, a condition allowing air to enter the bottle.
Wine bottle storage humidity is best maintained between 60 and 68 percent. Low humidity can cause the cork to dry out, while high humidity may cause the labels to peel.
Store Bottles Horizontally
Wine racks and corked bottle shapes are designed to tilt the bottles toward the corked end naturally. This orientation keeps the cork wet, preventing it from drying and deteriorating, a condition that will eventually allow air to enter the bottle. For screw tops, a horizontal position is not necessary, but racking is always an efficient way to store wine.
Eliminate Vibration and Excessive Light
Experts advise that it is vital to keep your cellar or storage in a place where neither vibration nor intense sunlight can impact the wine. Vibration disturbs the natural sediments in the wine and can affect the aging process negatively.
And, relatively short exposure to excessive UV rays from direct sunlight will alter the wine’s chemistry, affecting both the flavors and aroma.
Experts recommend that keeping the wines in the darkest place possible is best for storing wines correctly.
Wine aficionados suggest serving the best Cabernet Sauvignon and other red wines at 58-65°F for the best results. White wines are generally best when served at 45-55°F, while sweet and sparkling wines prefer colder temperatures at the low end of this spectrum.
Champagne is best when served even colder at 38-48°F.
Visit Wheeler Farm The historic Wheeler Farm Estate is situated among the vineyards in St. Helena in the heart of Napa Valley. The landmark estate, winery, and vineyards of Wheeler Farm recall the legacy of one of Napa Valley’s premier pioneering families.
Guests can learn more about winemaking disciplines and taste some exquisite J.H. Wheeler Cabernet Sauvignon and other creations by reserving a place for a future wine tasting. During your visit, you will also enjoy a tour of the estate gardens and Wheeler Farm’s state-of-the-winery.