By Ted Loos
June 08, 2015
Credit: © Erhard Pfeiffer

With the muggiest months not too far off, now’s the time learn all you need to know about wine storage. Maybe you were lucky enough to travel to Sonoma, or Piedmont, or the Barossa Valley, and you brought some bottles back home. So where are you going to stash them?

Your main enemies are heat, light and vibrations. I’ve seen a lot of people who store wine on top of the fridge, and that is truly one of the worst places imaginable. Fridges vent heat from the back, and are constantly rumbling (not to mention the possible exposure to sunlight).

If you have a dedicated wine refrigerator, of course, you are all set and you can stop reading. The ideal temperature is somewhere between 50 and 60 degrees, and the more constant, the better. Wild swings are bad.

Your regular refrigerator is a bit too cold, and that can dry out the corks. So that’s only for short-term storage.

Basements are good as long as they are not super humid, though some humidity is ideal. Store bottles on their sides.

I’m lucky enough to have a natural cellar in an old house—one with stone walls. It’s remarkably constant down there—cool but not cold. That is where I have tucked away some bottles of Henri Boillot Volnay Les Caillerets 2011 (killer red Burgundy), Chateau Lassegue 2005 (a Bordeaux from the Saint-Emilion district) and the Napa superstar Shafer Vineyards Hillside Select Cabernet Sauvignon (from a few vintages).

Yes, you can come over for a drink. You can feel assured that the wines will have been well stored.

Ted Loos is the Wine & Spirits Contributor for Travel + Leisure. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram at @LoosLips.