Properly Storing Wine: Humidity and Temperature

From the moment its seeds are planted, wine is under constant attack. To become a bottle of wine, the grapes have to survive, be harvested, transported, adequately fermented and aged, before being bottled and shipped to their destination. And even then, you have to care for and baby each bottle so that it will continue to ripen until it’s completely ready.

There are so many steps wine takes to turn out delicious, why should the care and handling of it be stopped after it comes home? If anything, by the time you’ve brought your wine home, you need to start doing some damage control – there’s no telling how long it was sitting on a shelf before purchasing it.

Whether White, Red, or Zinfandel, wine should always be kept on its side in a cool and humid environment.

Depending on the wine being stored, your cellar should keep anywhere between 45°F (7°C) and 65°F (18°C). Any sustained temperatures above 70°F (21°C) can have a disastrous effect on your wine’s long-term health.

At temps of 82°F (28°C), the cork seal breaks, and the wine’s integrity will begin weakening. In as little as 18 hours at 28°C, wine can lose brightness and undergo a chemical change, permanently affecting the flavor of the wine.

Wine’s number one defense while in the bottle is the cork. This stopper is usually made from the bark of the cork oak, and it seals in the wine’s natural flavors. Until you are ready to begin serving up your wine, your cork’s integrity is of the utmost importance.

Luckily, all you have to do to ensure your cork’s safety is to store your wine bottles on their side, and keep the humidity at around 70% in your wine cellar. This keeps the cork functioning at peak efficiency, and storing the bottle on its side will help the wine keep the cork from drying out.

  • Too little humidity and your cork could dry out, letting oxygen seep into the wine, ruining it.
  • Too much humidity and you run the risk of growing severe mold in your cellar.

Because you can’t just open a bottle of wine and give it a taste in the middle of the aging process, there are a ton of risks involved with storing your wine long-term. Luckily, a well-maintained wine cellar can help you mitigate those risks to ensure that your wine will taste every bit as good as you were anticipating.

If you’re ready to begin seriously storing and aging wine, then installing a wine cellar into your home or restaurant is the next step you need to take. You can get started with an augmented reality full-color render of your potential custom wine cellar by visiting us at or calling us at (800) 659-WINE (9463).