What to Do Before and After Opening a Bottle of Wine
Updated: Mar 15
Wine goes through an intricate process before it’s poured into your glass. To achieve a special taste, different kinds of fruits like grapes, plums, apples, pomegranates, and cranberries are fermented and aged for years.
There are more than 10,000 grape varieties globally, and all of them have different tastes and smells. When combined with other fruits, the wine possibilities are endless. The process of making wine and its infinite flavor potential are only some of the reasons why wine stands out amongst other beverages.
To consume wine at its best possible state, wine enthusiasts practice various rituals. There are specific steps on storing and serving wine to bring out its flavor and preserve its freshness as long as possible.
You don’t have to be a sommelier to begin taking care of your wine. You can easily perform these practices and keep your fine wines at their best at home.
Before Opening a Bottle…
Choosing wine in-store or through online wine delivery is an important part of curating your wine collection. However, not a lot of people understand that storing wine is a significant factor in wine preservation.
When stored correctly, your wine can last for decades, increasing its quality and value. Follow these simple tips so that you’ll know how to store your wine and keep it fresh until you’re ready to drink it.
1. Make sure wine is stored at the right temperature.
Temperature is the most important factor in storing wine. When the wine is in some place too warm or too cold, it will get spoiled. Whether you’re planning to keep the wine for the long term or short term, the ideal temperature of wine should be around 13–18°C.
There are times when specific wines like Vina Tondonia Tinto Reserva 2007 have their ideal temperature storage. As such, you should always check the label and find if there are any specific storing instructions.
As a general rule of thumb, wine should be kept around 13–18°C . Additionally, your wine storage temperature should be stable. Fluctuating temperature can cause the cork to expand or contract, affecting the quality of the wine as it can seep out or air can seep in.
2. Do not shake the bottle!
Vibrations can disturb wine sediments and cause premature ageing. There are theories that vibrations can create long-term effects on wine by speeding up its chemical reactions. So, if you’re planning to keep your wine for the long run, avoid placing it near sources of vibration like a washer and dryer, stereo system, and exercise areas.
3. Store your wine horizontally.
Horizontal storage is recommended for wine bottles with corks. Having your bottles stored horizontally helps keep the cork moist, which is essential in long-term wine storage. When your cork is dry, it can cause seepage and premature ageing. On the other hand, if the humidity of your storage is perfect, you can store the wine vertically.
4. Keep your wine in the dark.
Your wine must stay in a dark place, whether your storage intentions are for days, weeks, or months. Direct sunlight can damage the wine’s aromas and flavors. The fact that wine is sensitive to sunlight is the reason wine bottles are colored or tinted.
5. Allow the wine to settle to the proper serving temperature.
A basic practice in how to serve wine is to let it come up or down to its serving temperature. This technique lets you get the full expression of your wine’s flavor and aroma.
Generally, red wine should be served chilled with a temperature of 18°C depending on grape variety. Meanwhile, white wines are served colder than reds, around 10–16°C. Make sure that you also check your wine’s label for specific serving temperatures, as the age of the wine and its components can influence its serving temperature.
How to Open a Bottle of Wine (The Right Way)
Twist-top bottle wines and opened wines from restaurants are some of the reasons why corked bottles can be new terrain for you. But, don’t fret! Uncorking wine bottles with a corkscrew is easier than you think. Here’s how you do it:
Hold the wine in an upright position.
Use a small knife to cut across and remove the front, back, and top of the foil on the lower lip of the bottleneck. You shouldn’t move or shake the bottle too much when doing this step.
Take a corkscrew and set it just off the center of the cork. Insert and rotate it for about 4–5 turns.
Place the first lever on the lip of the bottle and lift.
Ease the cork out by levering with the second lever. Don’t touch the cork with your hands.
Once the cork is out, clean the inner neck of the bottle.
After Opening a Bottle…
You don’t need to be a sommelier or use any fancy tools to keep your wines fresh. All you need to do is know how wine goes bad. Oxygen is an essential part of the wine’s fermenting process. It can boost aromas and flavors, but too much oxygen can oxidize the wine.
Oxygen exposure, light, and temperature are the key factors in maintaining the integrity of your wine. Learn how you can store your wine at home with these pro tips.
1. Let the wine breathe.
Open the bottle and depending on character and ageing, consult with the experts about decanting or not. an hour before consuming it, or pour it into a decanter to let it breathe. Some wines need to breathe to help enhance their aromatics and to make the taste smoother. However, some others are pop and drink.
The “breathing” time of wine also depends on its type. The older and more delicate the wine is, the faster it will deteriorate when exposed to air. It’s best to follow decanting instructions from the experts.
2. Store the bottle in an upright position.
Contrary to the practice with unopened bottles, opened bottles should be stored in an upright position. By keeping opened wines vertically, you’re minimizing the surface area of oxygen exposure and slowing down the oxidation process.
3. Refrigerate the bottle.
Once you’ve re-corked your wine bottle, don’t just let it sit on the counter. Keep your wine chilled once it’s opened. Putting it in a fridge doesn’t stop it from breaking down, but it does significantly slow down the process of oxidation.
Preserve Wine Properly at Home
Learning how to preserve wine is not only for educated wine connoisseurs. As a casual drinker, you can also learn how to store wine and prolong its flavor. You just need to keep the wine away from its top enemies: UV rays, unideal temperatures, and oxygen overexposure.
To start your journey to experiencing wine in a whole new light with your newfound knowledge, why don’t you satisfy your cravings at home through online wine delivery? Ordering wine with Txanton is easy and convenient, especially during strict government lockdowns due to the pandemic.
Browse through Txanton’s Online Wine Shop to find a bottle you can enjoy today and for years to come.