Saving Wine to Savor Later

Written By Jean Sexton

Posted 11/27/17

Updated 03/13/24

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Many wines are ready to drink when released, but some taste even better if they are correctly stored and allowed to age.

Chooseing a bottle from Biltmore's wine cellar

Why age a wine?

We asked Biltmore winemaker Sharon Fenchak for tips on why and how to age a wine.

“The reason to store a wine is because you believe it will improve with age. At first tasting, if the wine dries and coats your mouth then it’s obvious you should hold it to drink later. I call it ‘pucker power,’” she said.

Sharon notes that some wines, primarily reds, have more initial tannins at bottling. Aging softens those tannins, creating a more balanced and pleasurable wine experience. As the tannins soften, sediment often settles at the bottom, so don’t be surprised to find sediment in aged wines. With proper decanting, the sediment can be removed, allowing the wine to be more easily enjoyed.

Antler Hill wines suitable for aging

Successful aging tips for wine

Wines age most successfully if you store them in the coolest, most temperature controlled place in your home, and allow for some humidity. Place the bottles upside down to keep the cork from drying out, and keep the wine away from vibrations.

Sharon recommends select red wines from our Vanderbilt Reserve or Antler Hill® series for cellaring (as the experts refer to the process) for up to five years.

Ladies enjoying a glass of red wine

Deciding how long to store a wine is literally a matter of taste. “If you really like a wine, buy a case and in two years try a bottle and take notes,” she said. “If you think it will benefit from more aging, try another bottle in two more years. If you feel it needs more time, open another bottle the following year,” Sharon advised.

Discover our award-winning wines at your local retailers or online.

Featured image: Biltmore winemaker Sharon Fenchak
First image: Choosing a bottle from Biltmore’s wine cellar
Second image: Antler Hill red wines suitable for aging
Third image: Friends enjoy a glass of well-aged red wine

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