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Plan your ordering a little ahead so you can give your wines a few days to rest before opening. They will taste better for it.
Your WSJ wines that are to be drunk within the next few months are fine left standing upright in the box. If, however, you want to keep them more than about six months, lay the bottles down so the corks don't dry out, which will let the air in and spoil the wine.
Ideally, keep your bottles out of direct sunlight, away from vibration and at a constant temperature. The exact degree is not so important, as long as it's somewhere between freezing and 65°F!
Wine storage is well worth thinking about for serious collectors and casual wine collectors alike. Not many people are lucky enough to have cellars and special temperature controlled cabinets are expensive. But following a few simple guidelines will help keep your wines in good condition and improve those that do not need time in bottle.
Why bother storing a wine?
Any wine will benefit from a little rest between its journey to you and being opened. It's often not a
question of ageing … just giving a living organism time to settle. My advice is to keep a
'buffer stock' at home rather than plunge into the first bottle as soon as a new case hits the doormat.
This is possible if your favorites happen to feature regularly in the WSJ Win lists.
But what if I can't wait?
Being patient is difficult, I know, especially if it's a wine you've never tried before. At the WSJ warehouse,
the corks are out of the bottles long before the truck has finished unloading! We do this despite knowing full
well that, like us, wine is not at its best after a long journey. The consolation is that any slight
disappointment will usually evaporate when retasting a week or so later, after the wine has settled.
Where should I keep a small stock of wine?
Wherever you like, as long as it is not at the mercy of strong light and extremes of temperature. Make sure it
is a dark place away from hot water pipes or heaters. Under stairs, the bottom of cupboards or small spare rooms
are all popular resting places for wine and insulation will help to maintain a more constant temperature.
Keeping your wines in their box is not a bad idea either.
The cardboard does a reasonable insulating job and the bottles are away from bright light. For the above reasons, an attic or greenhouse are both non-starters. If you are keeping bottles for more than a few weeks, store them horizontally. Keeping the cork damp prevents it from drying out and letting in wine's great foe, oxygen. Standard inexpensive wine racks are ideal.
What about wines that need keeping for years?
For long term storage, frankly, unless you have a cellar or somewhere with cellar-like conditions
(a constant cool temperature and humidity) it would be better to have your wines professionally stored.