wine storageThe ideal storage conditions for wine are a dark, damp, cool wine cellar. But as few of us have one of these, where’s the best place to store wine?

thermometerBottles of wine prefer being kept in a place that’s constantly cool, between 10 to 15ºC is ideal, so a spare room with the radiator turned off is a good place.

When I lived in a house with no spare bedroom but an unheated north-facing room that contained the loo, I put my wine rack there. Even in the height of summer the temperature never got above 15ºC and in winter it could get pretty chilly, but it never froze.

corkWhere ever your ‘cellar’ location use a wine rack or cardboard box to keep your bottles on their sides. Wine will then be in constant contact with the corks and this will stop them drying out and shrinking. A dried-out cork will let in air and bacteria which will contaminate the wine.

If you’ve bought wines sealed with screwcaps or plastic corks (the back label will tell you), store the bottles upright. These man-made bottle stops don’t need to be kept moist and so can be kept in areas not wide enough to take horizontally stored bottles on a wine rack.

This article has also appeared as Paula's Wines of the Week on