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A top sommelier reveals how you should *actually* be storing your wine at home (because you've probably been doing it wrong)



If you’re anything like us, you may have stockpiled wine during lockdown one (what can we say, there were some good offers!) and you might still be working your way through the collection (or not). Now the festive season is fast-approaching, many of us will be keeping our eyes peeled for yet more offers on our favourite bottles in the hope we can raise a glass or two with our friends and family come December.

However, after buying wine, many of us don’t take much notice of how we store our bottles – and how our actions could potentially be damaging the wine we bought with our hard-earned cash. So, how should we all be storing wine properly at home so it tastes great by the time we crack it open? Thankfully, Christopher Delalonde, head of wines and master sommelier at The Dorchester hotel is here to enlighten us all.

Top tips for storing your wine at home by The Dorchester’s Christopher Delalonde

  1. Find a place in your home to store the wine. If you do not have a wine fridge or cellar, locate the coolest space and avoid the kitchen, which is most likely to be the warmest part of the house. The ideal temperature is around 12 ºC, but this will vary for each wine style and the length you are intending to keep it for.
  2. Once you have found a spot to house your wine, try to keep the temperature consistent. Keeping wine at a warmer temperature will accelerate the aging process and will damage the wine. Avoid sunlight, radiators and any strong smells like next to a car in a garage. You may find that your bedroom closet or under the bed, if you have storage there, might work best as often bedrooms are the coldest room in a house.
  3. Lay the bottles on their side to stop the cork drying out. A dry cork will lead to leakage and will spoil the liquid remaining inside.
  4. If you open a good bottle of wine and do not want to finish the bottle then you can put the cork back in to the tip of the bottle neck and put in the fridge and this will last a further 24 hours. Sometimes it will taste even better!
  5. When it comes to serving wine, if it is a white I like to take it out of the fridge and open it around one hour before drinking. This allows the wine to breath. I often see white wine being served straight from the fridge which won’t allow for the aromas to come through. For red wine I do the opposite and put it in the fridge to bring the temperature down slightly so it is ready to be enjoyed to its fullest expression. Champagne and sparkling wines on the other hand should be served colder.
  6. If you would like to purchase a very expensive bottle of wine as an investment I would always recommend you invest in the equipment to look after it. It is like buying a vintage car and leaving outside in the open air and bad weather, you need to take care of it if you want to keep it in good condition. A wine cellar is ideal but a wine fridge is also perfect in keeping the correct temperature and humidity.
  7. My number one rule with buying an expensive bottle of wine is to not wait to drink it. If you do not have a cellar or fridge I would recommend drinking the wine within 6 months, after all wine is meant to be enjoyed!
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