How Long Should I Store Wine? - THEGRAPE

How Long Should I Store Wine Bottles?

Today In Wine 101: How Long Should I Store Wine Bottles?

When’s The Best Time To Drink This Wine? If you’ve recently purchased a case or bottle of wine, you may find yourself wondering, “How long you should “lay-down,” cellar or store wine bottles for? Whether you’ve purchased wine from your neighborhood wine shop, online wine store, local vineyard or neighborhood grocery store, wine labels rarely list the time you should store wine for. As a result, you’re left wondering, when’s the best time to drink this wine?

This tends to be a gray area since each of our palates differs and people enjoy wines at different stages of maturity. Figuring out the length of time a wine should be stored and when to open the wine can be difficult. In some rare cases, wine labels will list the storing time but more often than not individuals are left to use trial and error. So where’s a great place to start when the storing time is not listed? Ask the sales agent when the best time to enjoy the wine is or simply contact the vineyard.

 

What Do Wine Publications Say?

If you’ve recently read about a particular wine in a newspaper or magazine like: USA Today, The Wall Street Journal or Bon Appétit, they usually list the wine storage time and/or the year the wine will peak. Make note of this, by writing the “open date” or time on the back label or an attached piece of tape, so you’re able to enjoy the wine at its most optimum time or plan it around a special occasion.

However, over 90% of red, white and rose wines can be consumed within a year, though there are always exceptions, most notably, vintage wines. Also, some red wines tend to last longer because of their tannin content, whereas most white wines don’t require this process.

 

Here are two examples of red wines that call for extended storage times:

  • Vintage Ports can take anywhere from 10 – 30+ years to mature.
  • California Zinfandels can take 5+ years to mature.

 

Examples of extended periods to store white wines:

White wines on the other hand, like Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, dry Rieslings and Beaujolais can be consumed immediately.

  • German Rieslings can take between 3 – 30+ years to age.
  • California Chardonnays can take between, 5 – 10 + years to mature.

 

Keep in mind that wine changes as it ages and not all wine should be stored for an extensive period of time. A small percentage of wines get better as they age but the vast majority of wines do not. Again, trying to decide if a wine is ready to be opened depends mostly on your taste buds and preference.

If you’re hesitant about a particular wine’s storing time and when it should be opened, ask an expert or open the wine and find out. Many times it comes down to trial and error. However, if you’ve purchased a nice vintage wine you may want to hold off until it peaks. It’ll be worth it. Cheers!

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