Look after your wine collection with our essential guide to storing and serving this wonderful drink.

 

Most white and rosé wines are sold ready for drinking now and don't need laying down. Good-quality red wines, except for the lightest, such as Beaujolais, can benefit from careful storage. Even cheaper wines will taste better if you serve them properly and at the right temperature.

store your wine

Ideal conditions for wine storage are darkness and a temperature of around 12°C/54°F. An understairs cupboard or a garage will be fine, but watch it doesn't freeze in winter.

  • A consistent temperature is more important than coolness. If wine is kept in an area a little cooler or warmer than the ideal, it won't suffer so much as if it's subject to sudden temperature change.
  • Store bottles in a rack, on their side, so the cork doesn't dry out. Bottles with a screw cap can be stored upright.
serve your wine

Very expensive red wine may benefit from decanting, but most wine is fine served from the bottle. Have a quick taste to make sure the wine is in good condition and at the right temperature.

  • White wine is best served chilled, and red (with rare exceptions) at just below room temperature. An hour or so in the fridge for white wine or three at room temperature for red wine should be just right.
  • Open red wine a little ahead of time to let it ‘breathe’.
  • Choose glasses large enough to swill around a standard measure (one-sixth of a bottle), since part of the pleasure is to smell it and enjoy the ‘nose’.
  • Keep white wine on ice or in a chiller.

If you are dining out, find out how to make sure you are ordering a good bottle of wine to accommpany your meal.

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