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Are you overcome with a love for wine and ready to start collecting? To ensure that your wine is ready to drink when you are, consider these wine storage tips:

wine_rackFirst, plan your storage spot. Your wine will show its best if you store it in a cool, dark, vibration-free room or closet, basement or cool corner, where temperatures stay relatively constant. Keep it away from windows, bright light and fluctuating kitchen temperatures. Optimal storage temperatures are anywhere between 55 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit—55 to 60 degrees is ideal! Some humidity is also beneficial. Store wine on its side or upside down to keep the cork moist. And for wines you plan to hold more than a couple months, a wine fridge is an excellent and affordable option.

Drink_it_upPlan to drink it. Most wines on the market today are not designed for extended storage; they are ready to drink and will only last up to one or two years. Remember that wines in clear glass containers degrade more quickly than those in dark-colored bottles, and wines from the Southern Hemisphere are six months older than their northern counterparts because of seasonal differences. So stock up on your favorites, but don’t be afraid to enjoy them!

Age premium-quality wines. While many wines are not made for aging, some are glorious after a decade or more. These include pricier selections that deliver greater concentration and complexity. High levels of acidity, sugar and/or phenolics (tannins and flavor compounds found in red grape skins) all help a wine age well. Some age-worthy wines include Grand Cru and Premier Cru Bordeaux, Sauternes, premium-quality late-harvest Riesling and Chenin Blanc, Barolo, vintage Port and many high-end Cabernet Sauvignons from New World regions such as Napa and Sonoma Valleys. Since proper storage for these special wines is essential, investing in a wine fridge or even professional storage is in order. Always keep notes on when you want to drink these wines, or label the bottles so you don’t forget to enjoy them before they pass their prime.

wine_cooler_smallFinally, experiment with new wines and varieties. While it’s great to regularly enjoy some personal favorites, always keep a variety of wines on hand to sample and enjoy with friends. Periodically, add something new to your cellar. Check out the extensive Total Wine & More selection!