Three bottle of red wine store in a metal wine racking system
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  • 6 tips for storing wine in hotter climates.

1. Don’t transport or leave wine in a hot vehicle.

Unfortunately, many unsuspecting wine collectors overheat their wines before they ever get their bottles home. For the casual wine drinker, many make the mistake of leaving bottles of wine along with their groceries or other purchases in a hot vehicle for too long, compromising the quality. If you buy wine at a store or during a wine tasting trip, take your purchases in with you to your stops along the way, or simply make wine purchasing your last to-do before heading home. Even for the commute home, be sure to store wine in the main vehicle area, not in the trunk, to keep it as cool as possible.

2. Don’t buy wine from an overly warm wine store or winery room.

Sadly, even wine purveyors aren’t always careful when it comes to proper temperature control of wine. If you are out buying wine, whether it’s from a grocery store, wine purveyor, or a quaint little winery, be aware of how the wine is being stored. Is the store unusually warm? Chances are those wines, even red wines, are being stored at too warm a temperature. Wine is a living, breathing organism, and heat is not ideal for wine, forcing it to age more quickly than desired. If you walk into an establishment and the area where wines are stored is uncomfortably warm, pass on purchasing your wine there.

3. Keep wines away from light.

Light is another enemy of wine, as it is to beer and many other beverages. The glass used to manufacture wine bottles is generally tinted. This is for more than aesthetics, as ultraviolet light will promote the chemical degeneration of fine wine. (Persons coming from regions of the country where Hood dairy products are distributed, may have noticed that they now package their milk in opaque containers for the same reason — to combat deterioration due to light.)

Light is energy, and energy introduced into wine will accelerate naturally occurring chemical reactions — resulting in premature aging and development. Light also tends to generate heat, another reason to avoid storing in the presence of constant light. For this reason, avoid wine retailers who place unopened bottles of wine for display in direct sunlight. Store, to the extent practical, in the dark.

4. Make sure your wine storage is in a location that doesn’t fluctuate in temperature.

Sometimes people who live in states where the temperature varies greatly by season forget to consider the damage heat can have, even during a very short season of warm weather. We often hear from people who have custom wine rooms in New York, New Jersey, or Connecticut who store wines in lofts or a garage and forget that the temperature can vary greatly in the hot summertime. If you collect wine, warm temperatures, no matter how short the season, can wreak havoc on a wine collection.

5. Leave the wine in the house if you’re enjoying your wine outside.

Once the first signs of snow start to melt, many wine drinkers want to head outside to enjoy a nice bottle of wine on their sunny patio. Don’t let the crisp air fool you into leaving your wine bottle out in the sun. Just like direct sunlight coming through a bright picture window or glass front door, direct sunshine on a nice bottle of wine sitting on your table out by the pool or back patio can impact the quality of your wine. It’s best to leave the wine bottle in the house, and walk inside to refill your glass when you’re ready. If you must have it within arm’s reach, leave the bottle in the shade but again if it’s a warm Arizona day, even the shade won’t protect your wine; keep the bottle in the house.

6. Climate control your custom wine room or wine cellar.

When people are building a custom wine room or wine cellar in their home, climate control is an important factor, especially in hotter climates. If your collection includes wines that you plan to store for several years while they reach maturity, wine cellar refrigeration is critical to keep the quality of your collection at its peak.

Temperatures that cause wine heat damage are surprisingly low, starting at 80 degrees. If you live in sunny California, Texas, or any other parts of the sunbelt states, you run the risk of overheating your wine even in the cool temperatures of winter. The best way to ensure you’re storing your wine correctly in warm weather is to follow the tips above; careful transportation, reputable wine purveyor, avoid direct sunlight, avoid temperature fluctuation, keep your bottles indoors, and have good climate control for your wine room. Now you can enjoy your wine even in the warmest of climates!

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