Storage is an important consideration for wine that is being kept for long-term aging. While most wine is consumed within 24 hours of purchase, fine wines are often set aside for long-term storage. Wine is one of the few commodities that can improve with age but it can also rapidly deteriorate if kept in inadequate conditions. The three factors that have the most direct impact on a wine’s condition are light, humidity and temperature. A fourth consideration is security for expensive wines. Historically the storage of wine was handled by wine merchants but since the mid-20th century consumers have been increasingly storing their own wine in home-based wine cellars. Since the end of the 20th century, there has been growth in industries relating to wine storage. Some wine connoisseurs may elect to store their wine at home in a dedicated room, closet or cellarette. Other options involve purchases and rentals at off-site wine storage facilities that are specifically designed for the task.
Wine will prematurely develop if stored in an environment that has large temperature variations, particularly if these occur frequently. Temperature control systems ensure the wine cellar temperature is very stable. The variations cause corks to expand and contract which leads to oxidation of the wine.
If wine is stored in conditions that are too dry, the cork will shrink and cause leakage. Too moist, and mould and contamination may occur. Climate Controlled Wine Storage maintains moderate humidity levels (55%-75%) to avoid these problems and assist in the optimum wine development conditions. Other industries focus on the construction of home wine cellars and wine caves, small rooms or spaces in which to store wine. Others produce smaller wine accessories, such as racks and wine refrigerators. These appliances can feature adjustable temperature interfaces, two chambers for red and white wines and materials which protect the wine from the sun and ambient environment. Wine preservation and dispensing systems have also been developed that store wine at their optimal temperatures and use nitrogen gas to dispense the wine. Nitrogen gas helps prevent wine from oxidation and premature spoilage.