February 14, 2020 - By Lexi Klinkenberg
From Philadelphia to Sacramento, wine lovers span across the United States consuming 4 billion bottles of wine in just one year! But many of you may question whether you’re storing your beloved bottles correctly. Even if your home isn’t equipped with a wine cellar, you can still store wine in ideal conditions to preserve and maximize aging potential. We’ve asked the experts to share their secrets to storing wine that can help prevent spoilage so you can still uncork and unwind, no cellar necessary.
Avoid Heat and Sunlight
The best place to store wine in your home is in a cool, dark place where the temperature doesn’t change much over the course of the year. Ideally, this would be a basement, but could also be a closet, the closer to the floor the better. -Bettina Sichel, Laurel Glen Vineyard
Basements are a great place to store and age wine. For those without a basement, an interior closet or under a first-floor bed are the next best options. Since heat rises, store your wine as close to the floor as possible to prevent rapid temperature fluctuation. – Dave Rice, Chehalem Winery
Get Creative When Stashing Your Wine
Homeowners are concerned with keeping their wine at the right temperature, but they forget the other two culprits to wearing it down. Direct light, noise, and movement. These are all big contributors to wreaking havoc on your precious bottles. It is always more important to keep your wine at the same consistent temperature in a dark, cool, and quiet space. –Tertulia Cellars
It’s important to store your wine somewhere without excess light or heat fluctuations while keeping it laying on its side. This could include a dedicated wine cellar, a pantry, or even under your bed! For the longest time, I stored my wine laying flat in plastic storage boxes under my bed, keeping them cool and out of the sunlight. –Paige Comrie, Wine with Paige
People love storing wine in their kitchen or above their refrigerator for quick and easy access—but those are often the warmest areas in your house. Store wine in a cool, dark closet at the center of your home, away from windows and appliances. Another great option is a temperature-controlled wine storage facility like the Wine Collector’s Room in downtown Santa Barbara, which has lockers wine lovers can rent each month for their personal cellar. –Carr Vineyards & Winery
Avoid Extreme Temperature Adjustments
It is not as important to keep wine at 55 degrees constantly, but that you avoid wine swings between 40 and 80 degrees. This means keep it out of the light, away from heat vents, and away from doorways. –Etfille Wines
Consistent temperature is more important than the actual temperature. With constant changing temperatures the wine expands and contracts in the bottle which will accelerate the aging. -Scott Harvey, Scott Harvey Wines
Find the Right Humidity
Store your wines with your furs. Just like furs, wines need a dark place that has moderate humidity – 50%. You want to prevent the cork from drying out. Avoid direct sunlight and a damp basement. –Vino 301
Saving the Bottle For a Special Occasion
If you are hanging onto a bottle or two for a special occasion, we recommend storing it out of sight and out of mind. Our favorite hiding place is on its side, under the kitchen sink. It’s actually kind of perfect if you think about it. Cool, dark, and since it’s where you store your cleaning supplies, you know your husband will never find it. –Naked Winery
Decide when you want to drink your wine. If it’s something special that you want to age for a few years, put it in a box, seal it, and write the date on it. You won’t be as tempted to open it early and you won’t forget to drink it at the optimum time. –Burnt Bridge Cellars
When Your Hosting
If your home occasionally gets hot or cold and you keep wine for more than a few weeks you should consider a small wine refrigerator. These have become very affordable in recent years and are nice to have visible in whatever room you entertain guests. –David Glancy, San Francisco Wine School
For storing an open bottle of wine, use your Sodastream to blow the air out of the bottle before sticking the cork back in. Don’t try to pressurize the wine bottle! Just put the Sodastream injector about 1” into the open wine bottle. –Eleven Winery
When making an ice bucket to keep a bottle chilled, make sure to add about 1/3 of water. This will chill the bottle much quicker than just the ice. -Last Wine Down
Consider the Color When Storing
If you are into orange or rose wines and aren’t sure how they should be stored our best recommendation is to think about how long they had skin contact for. The less skin contact (thus likely lighter color), the cooler the temperature you should store your wines. –Through the Grapevine
Keep it sideways
Wine storage at home is simple, even if you don’t have a basement or a wine fridge. Store wine in the horizontal position, away from any direct source of heat, away from direct sunlight, and away from any source of vibration. –Talk-A-Vino
Storing your wine in a horizontal position keeps the cork moist by having constant contact with the wine. If your cork dries out, it increases the risk of “corked” wine. –Three Sisters Winery & Earlco Vineyards
Reading about food and wine is fun and inspires me to eat amazing food and drink amazing wine! What better way to spend a weekend?!
Scouring the world of wine blogs online is not an easy task! There are so many to choose from, but we have narrowed our search down to the best ones.
Every minute of every day someone is pouring a glass of wine somewhere in the world! Also, somewhere someone is pouring their thoughts and knowledge onto the internet on their own blog. Blogs are magical spaces on the internet where we can go and be swept away into someone else's life, or learn something new without ever leaving our house.
We have put together a list of 15 wine blogs we think you will like to be swept away with.
1. Wine Turtles - https://www.wineturtle.com/ - They don't claim to be experts in wine, but rather wine lovers. They do have a ton of wine information. I love what they wrote on their about page, "We are a group of people that share a deep passion for wine, and anything related to it, and enjoy it at a Turtle’s pace because that’s how it should be done. No good will come from rushing through it; much better to take your time and enjoy every last bit of it."
2. The Wine Dude - http://www.1winedude.com/ - Love his wit and humor in his articles. He seems down to earth and not one of those snooty wine experts that make everyone else feel stupid with wine jargon that the beginner wine drinker wouldn't know. Joe Roberts keeps all of his articles snooty free and yet expresses himself as being very knowledgeable in the wine industry.
3. The Fermented Fruit - http://thefermentedfruit.com/ - A great wine blog from a non-expert wine drinker who just wants to spread his love of wine, and share his wine experiences.
4. Dr. Vino - http://www.drvino.com/ - Is actually a doctor, and did his Ph.D. dissertation on the political economy of the wine industry in France and the United States! He retired to just write about wine and also includes politics and other areas of life. He is an author of 2 books and writes often for other food and wine publications.
5. The Wine Pages - https://wine-pages.com/ - A very long-running wine site, started back in 1995. It has a forum where you can connect with other wine lovers and get recommendations or share your own favorite wines. It also has a free basic wine course for beginners.
6. Another Wine Blog - http://www.anotherwineblog.com/ - Easy to read, good sense of humor in their writing, and not stuffed with snooty wine jargon. Head down to the bottom footer and they have a category drop-down menu that has an extensive list of all the different categories they have written articles on.
7. My Wine Canada - https://mywinecanada.com/wineblog/ - Blog all about Canadian wines, and has a few articles on BC and Okanagan wineries.
8. The Tasting Room Confidential - http://tastingroomconfidential.com - An impressive wine writer from Vancouver, but she has articles about wines all over the world. I especially love her BC and Okanagan articles!
9. Bigger Than Your Head - http://www.biggerthanyourhead.net/ - Fredric Koeppel started the wine blog in 2006. He taught English for 17 years and became a journalist. He is very knowledgeable in wines, and his writing flows so effortlessly that it's hard not to read the whole blog article from top to bottom!
10. Luscious Lushes - http://lusciouslushes.com/ - I just love the name! Who wouldn’t right?! She holds a CWAS (California Wine Appellation Specialist) credential. She travels and writes about all her wine experiences and tasting she does.
11. Just Grapes - http://www.justgrapeswine.com/ - Just Grapes Wine Blog is a Vancouver BC-based blog that specializes in educating and informing consumers and trade both locally and abroad on wine and craft beer.
12. Hired Belly - http://hiredbelly.com/ - Another Vancouver BC-based food and wine blog. Writing on the local food and wines in the region. "Tim’s hallmark is seeking out value wines from BC and around the world. He seeks out quality at every level."
13. Wine Barbarian - http://winebarbarian.blogspot.ca/ - Based in Vancouver he writes about wine and scorns wine snobs. He reviews and writes about the wine festivals and conferences he goes to, and also reviews reasonably priced wines.
14. My Wine Pal - http://mywinepal.com/ - Based in BC, Karl also writes about wine all across Canada. His website is laid out so information is easy to find. I particularly like his winery tasting notes he has on every winery he goes to.
15. John Schreiner On Wine - http://johnschreiner.blogspot.ca/ - Another blog author based in Vancouver. He has been writing about wine since 1984 when he first published his first wine book. Since then he has written 15 more wine books and continues to write on his blog. He has posts about the Okanagan BC that are worth a read through!
So there you have it, the 15 wine blogs we think you will like. I hope that you can check them out and give them some love.
Have a great week, and stop by a winery on your way home this Friday and pick up some new wine to try.
You don’t have to be a rocket scientist or a highly certified sommelier to learn the basics of wine and food pairing. It might seem like a scary uncharted territory but it's quite easy.
Take the wines you like and the foods you like and voila, food pairing!
For your food pairing to be memorable start with a very versatile wine - one that goes with a wide selection of foods - and things won't go wrong.
Food pairing is mostly based on personal preference, so what tastes good together for you, might not be another person's first choice. Although, if you’re like me, any wine tastes good with all food! Haha
There are a few basic ground rules that most people follow when pairing wine and foods together. Follow these and you will be a lot closer to food & wine harmony in no time.
Lastly which wines are best served with which cheese. Gotta love those cheese platters! Here is a quick overview of cheese and wine pairing for that fun get together platters.
Remember that wine and food pairing is a very personal experience and preference that you learn as you try new foods together with wines you like. Trial and error with your own tastes buds can be fun as well. But if you are going to a dinner or holiday get together and want to bring wine for the hostess, choose one of the versatile wines, then you can't go wrong!
For amazing recipes and pairing check out our own recipe list.
If you have never gone to a winery for a wine tasting experience you are in for a tasty treat! There is always a first time for everything, including wine tasting. When you start thinking about going wine tasting you may have some basic questions. I’ve listed the 10 basic things to know the first time you go wine tasting.
Most wineries are casual dress. Think classy casual, jeans or shorts and a nice shirt are totally acceptable. Some people like to dress it up a bit if they are going on a wine tasting tour with a group. A Nice dress or a more dressed up casual is a good choice. Always remember to wear something comfortable, and it doesn’t need to be fancy.
Most wineries have a tasting fee of $5 per person, but this is typically not charged if you buy a bottle of wine after your tasting experience.
Most often people start with the lightest wines and work their way down to the dark full body reds. So start with the white wine list, unless you only like red wine; then ask to taste the red wine list.
Some tasting lists may have many different wines to choose from and you can only pick 3 whites and 3 reds, or something like that. And some will have it so you can taste them all on the wine list. Just listen to the pourer and they will explain how it works at that particular winery.
Children are usually allowed in most winery tasting rooms. Bring something for them to do to keep occupied as a full tasting can take about 20 minutes.
5. Should I Drive After?
Because drinking laws are different in each province and country, I can't tell you specifically if you can drive after. I will say to be responsible, use good judgment and know the drinking laws in your area. If you plan to go visit many wineries in a day, then it's always best to be on the safe side and have a designated driver, hire a car or go on a wine tour. Wine tours should be easy to find if you google wine tours and the area you are in.
Acknowledge when the glass is poured, make eye contact and say thank you. Listen to what the pourer is saying about each wine and be ready for conversation or to ask any questions you have.
First hold the glass by the stem, not the cup part, and give each wine poured a little gentle swirl. This allows oxygen to get into the wine and brings the bouquet of aromas up from the wine.
Next, bring the glass up to your nose and put your nose into the glass and smell the wine. Consider what you smell, can you smell hints of fruit or spices? This is called the "nose" of the wine. The nose of the wine can offer hints of the wine's bouquet or aroma.
Then take a sip and swish it for a second so it fills all around your mouth and then swallow. Great wines have a rich long complex after taste. You can wait a minute for another sip to savor the wine and the after taste it brings, then go ahead and finish up your glass. Consider what you can taste in the wine, like fruits, plums, raspberries, blackberries, chocolates, or spices?
Many wineries ask what your favorite wine is, or what do you want to start with. Be prepared to answer, with what your usual favorite is, or just answer that you are not sure yet so you would like to try them to find out. If they ask where you would like to start, you can say you’d like to start from the whites and work down the list.
Don’t be shy. Many times you are being served by one of the owners, winemakers, or long time staff that can answer all your questions. There are no dumb questions! Many small business wineries have great history and stories they love to tell their customers. So ask questions like: How long have you been making wine? What wine is your favorite? Where are the grapes grown they use for their wines? What food pairs best with this wine? Etc.
If you are new to wines and wine tastings, try a bit of each one on the tasting list. Even if you think you only like whites, or only full body reds, you may be surprised by one of the other types as you try them all. Each one is made with different ingredients and hard work from the winemakers.
Also, try new wineries, don’t just stick to one or two you find. Most wineries are laid back, casual and you stand at the counter chatting with the server. But there are some wineries that put on a grand tasting experience with cheeses and chairs and a story for each wine. Go ahead and tour the wine area you are in and find those grand experiences, but also enjoy the small casual wineries as well.
Buying a bottle is totally your choice. If you find a wine you really like, you can buy a bottle to enjoy later at home. Wine also makes a wonderful present or souvenir if you are wine tasting somewhere far from home. There is no pressure to purchase a bottle, you can taste the wines and pay the tasting fee and leave if you would like. If there is normally a tasting fee many people will buy 1 bottle of whatever they liked best as it’s usually only $10-15 more for the bottle and you are not charged the tasting fee. Although I have gone to wine tastings and have left without buying a bottle because I didn’t find anything I really wanted to take home.
We hope that these basic tips help answer your questions about wine tasting for the first time you go. Make sure to plan it out, and it's always fun to go with friends or family. Go as a group and have designated drivers so you can make an afternoon of it and stop at a few different wineries. Most important tip - have fun!
Three Sisters Winery