There are several principles to keep in mind when learning how to store wine in general: keep it cool, keep it dark, keep it still and if it's got a natural cork, keep it sideways. Yet when you start breaking out storage requirements for white wines, red wines, sparkling wines and fortified wines, you'll find that slightly different temperature and duration specifications can add up to a significant difference in a wine's performance, post-storage.
What Temperature is Best for Storing White Wines?
Ideal storing temperatures for white wines fall into the 45-50°F temperature range, conveniently keeping within the parameters of the recommended serving temperature of 48°F for white wine. However, if you are storing red and white wine together, a cool 55°F is a happy temperature medium that will sufficiently accommodate both types of wine for long term storage.
Is it OK to Store White Wines in the Refrigerator?
The question of storing white wines in a normal refrigerator comes up frequently. Keep in mind that your kitchen refrigerator most likely rumbles along at 35-38°F, considerably colder than a standard wine refrigerator. These frigid temps put your white wines at risk for having their vibrant flavors zapped right out, leaving behind the wine that is flat on the nose and flavorless on the palate. The typical kitchen refrigerator also holds a pretty hefty motor that causes a constant vibration throughout the unit.
Long-term vibration is a contentious enemy of wine.
How Long Should I Store White Wine
The vast majority of the white wines (and red wines for that matter) are intended to be consumed within 2-3 years. In general, most mass market white wines are freshest upon release and are best opened as close to their vintage year as possible.
Where to Store My White Wines
Wine storage has presented plenty of problems for numerous cultures over the past few millennia. With all sorts of wine spoilage, prevention programs utilized from the Ancient Greeks' addition of honey to the Europeans fortification with brandy - these all out efforts were intended to keep wine in the best shape possible for future enjoyment.
Thankfully, we have a variety of options for properly storing wine. From the economical, cool basement to the readily-available wine refrigerator units and climate-controlled wine cabinets, all the way to a full-blown cellar. While the option for storing your wines depends on your budget and available space, by keeping the wine storage basics of cool, dark, still and sideways in mind, you'll find your wines presentable when it comes time to serve them.