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So you want to start a cellar or just protect the bottles you've purchased from your last tasting adventure? Well, wine is a very fragile thing and even if you can't afford a separate fridge, there are several ways to ensure your bottles won't go bad before you get to them.
  1. DARKNESS: Sunlight is hot and heat destroys wine. Keep your bottle out of the kitchen, away from windows and in a dark space. If you don't have a wine fridge, the bottom of a closet works best away from any strong chemicals. Their smell can leach through the cork over time, especially if it's a small space.

  2. TEMPERATURE: If you can't afford a wine fridge, at the very least try to place your wine in a place that has a consistent temperature. Higher temps aren't optimal, but it's fluctuations that cause spoilage. If you can't keep the temp lower than 75 degrees, you better drink up fast. Optimum temp is between 55 and 58 degrees for long-term aging.

  3. LAY THEM DOWN: Wherever you store your wine make sure that it's laying down, especially if it has a cork. They need to stay moist in order to stay in place and prevent too much air from getting in the bottle and oxidizing the wine. Leaving your bottles standing up would be fine for short term storage, but not for anything you want to age.

  4. COLD KILLS: Do NOT store your wine in your regular refrigerator for more than a few days. It will kill the aromas and flavors of a still white and destroy the bubbles of a sparkling. Believe me, I know. It takes about 45-60 minutes to chill wine, so there's really no need to keep it in there for days.

  5. HEAT COOKS: When out wine-tasting, especially in warmer months, do NOT leave your wine in the car overnight. Fluctuations in temperature are bad for wine and the difference between night and day can kill. Also the trunk may be darker, but if it's that hot out, your purchases will probably be better off inside the vehicle since you'll most likely be using the A/C. Your best bet, is to have the winery ship it back to you, if possible. Most will hold it until the weather gets a bit cooler. At the very least, park in the shade.

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