How to Store Wine

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 11,701
    Andrew Stover, Wine Director at OYA Restaurant & Lounge in Washington, DC shares the proper techniques for storing wine.

    Andrew Stover

    Andrew Stover, a native of Grand Rapids, Michigan, moved to Washington, DC to attend The George Washington University with a focus in Marketing/Tourism & Hospitality Management. Stover also holds a Sommelier Diploma from the International Sommelier Guild and a Certified Specialist of Wine Certification from the Society of Wine Educators.

    Stover began his foray into wine by visiting local Virginia vineyards. Over the last 8 years, his love of wine has become an obsession and he has combined his love for travel and food by visiting wine regions in Australia, Brazil, New Zealand, Chile, Uruguay, Argentina, Chile, France, Canada and all over the US.

    Stover worked 2 years in the tasting room at Breaux Vineyards in Hillsboro, Virginia conducting wine tastings and tours in 2000-2002. He has consulted with Pintail Yachts in Annapolis on wine dinner cruises and conducts staff wine trainings with La Tasca Spanish Tapas Restaurant. In March of 2006, Stover was hired on as Wine Director and Sommelier for OYA Restaurant & Lounge, where he has revamped the entire wine program making it more food friendly and consumer driven.

    Stover has served 4 years on the Board of Directors for the Washington Area Concierge Association and 3 years as Chair of their annual Charity Gala: Bubbles on the Potomac, which is a sparkling wine tasting event aboard the Odyssey.

    Stover is also an accomplished writer and has published wine articles for Where Magazine, the Howard County Business Monthly and the Complete Event and Meeting Planner, a guide for local event and meeting planners, with tips on wine and food pairings for events. He also publishes a wine blog, www.chiefwino.com.

    Most recently, Stover has been hired to teach a food and wine pairing seminar at The George Washington University as part of the Event Management Certificate Program in the GW School of Business.

    Andrew Stover: Hi, I am Andrew from OYA Restaurant & Lounge in Washington DC, and today we are discussing tips from a sommelier. In this clip, I'll be discussing with you how to properly store a wine. As you can see right now I am standing in the restaurant's wine storage room. That is why it's a little dark, little chilly and you can also in the background hear a faint beeping from an air conditioning unit indicating that its just a little bit warmer than normal in here. Let's talk about some things that you can do at home on storing wine. Now, most wines that you have at home right now for everyday drinking are not necessarily going to benefit from any long term storage and that really goes for most wines that are in the market today. There's only a very select number of high end wines that really would benefit for having a cold storage unit in your home, whether it be a small refrigerator or a room like this that we have here at the restaurant. Couple of things to keep in mind that you can do at home that will impact the quality of the wine. First, you want to try to store all of your wines horizontally, especially those with a cork. Now, If it has a screw top it's not that big of a deal because what we are worried about is having wine in constant contact with the cork. If the wines happen to be stored vertically, and I know it just drives me crazy because I go to wine shop and they don't even have the high end bottles standing up like this. What can happen is that the corks can dry out a little bit and that it can shrink and air can get in, oxygen can get in, causing oxidation and that could ruin a bottle of wine. So you always want to make sure that you are storing them horizontally. That's why a lot of the wine racks that you find in the stores where there are those older wooden ones that could flop on your corner. That's why they are designed and store wine horizontally. A note about those little wine racks, don't place them on top of your refrigerator. I go into a lot of people's homes and I see them on top of the refrigerator that's a bad place to store wine because that area of the kitchen tends to be warm. You also don't want to have them too close to the stove because heat, it can be detrimental to your wine, it can cause cooked flavors and you basically ruin your wine. So don't store your wine any where that's warm, especially above the fridge, or somewhere near the kitchen stove. Some other things to keep in mind. You also want to find a dark place as light can be detrimental to your wine. And also, this is the toughest one, for people to do in their home, especially those people that live in condominiums or apartments is to try to find a place with a constant humidity level, which would be around 70% of the ideal. So if you have a basement or a cellar that would be a great place to store wine, so that the corks again -- humidity is important to keep the corks from shrinking because again if they shrink then you can have some oxidation. One other note about corks and shrinkage, do not store white wine in your refrigerator and I am talking about refrigerator where you store your food because the humidity levels tends to be lower in refrigerators for food and again you have the shrinkage of the corks and you can have a ruined bottle of wine. I mean, I have seen, I remember putting a bottle in maybe for two weeks, I thought I was going to drink it in right the next hour, but I didn't, it was ruined within 2 weeks. I hadn't even opened it because the cork shrunk, it was too -- the humidity level wasn't high enough and the wine was ruined. Now, if you do have some bottles, let's say you have some Chteau Margaux home, that we have here, things that you have spent a good deal of money on that do definitely benefit from long term aging, these are the kind of bottles that I would say you need to invest in a wine storage area and I mean you can build a room like this where you can store you know a thousand bottles and you can invest in some rack shelving, on air conditioning unit that will keep the room same 55-57 degrees, these also regulate humidity, except when we have the door opening a lot, and it beeps at us. But it regulate humidity, I mean it's the perfect environment. Now if you don't have a home that's big enough to build one of these rooms, you can invest in small wine refrigerator. They have special wine refrigerators that regulate the temperature -- at the optimum temperature of say again 55-57 and also regulates the humidity and those can come in small, as I have seen them for like, 15 bottles all the way up to -- I have seen units that look like more of a standard refrigerator that holds, say 300 bottles. So there you have it. How to store wine? Stay tuned because in my next clip, we are going to be talking about how to think outside the glass of Chardonnay