Wine Storage & Temperature

Storage/Cellar Basics

For a wine to be at its best when opened, it must be stored properly. The serious enemies of wine are prolonged contact with air, extreme heat or cold, fluctuations in temperature, vibration, sunlight, and strong odors. Wine is best stored under the following conditions:

  • Horizontally to keep the cork moist and prevent it from shrinking. A shrunken cork allows air into the bottle, which may spoil the wine.
  • In a dark, insulated and temperature-controlled room. Ideally, the temperature should be 11º C or 52º F, but anything between 40º-65º F (5º-18º C) is fine as long as the temperature doesn't fluctuate. The higher the storage temperature, the faster the wine will age, as higher temperatures increase the rate of oxidation.


While most wines are ready to enjoy as soon as they're available in the market, fine wines will continue to evolve with additional aging. The added cellar time gives the wine time to develop more complexity, more mature flavors to mature and softer tannins.

Lighter fine white wines such as Sauvignon Blanc are best enjoyed from the time of release (within a year after harvest) and for the next two to three years. With optimal cellar conditions, richer white wines such as Chardonnay can be enjoyed from the time of release (two to three years after harvest) for another five to ten years.

Lighter red wines like Pinot Noir will continue to evolve for up to five years from release (two to three years after harvest) and hold for many years after that. The big reds, such as fine Cabernet Sauvignon, are typically released three to four years after harvest. These wines will benefit with an additional ten or more years of cellaring before reaching a plateau where they can be held for many more years after that.

Note: When in doubt, it is better to drink a wine too early than too late!

Ideal serving temperatures


Looking for expertly cellared older vintages of Merryvale wines? Call us toll free at 877 887 7763.


Cellar image courtesy of The Inn at Langley, Washington