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    How To Store Port Wine?

    How To Store Port Wine

    You’ve been given a beautiful bottle of Port and you want to save it for a special occasion, but how do you store Port properly?

    Fear not, we’re here to help by taking a look at the different types of Port and how to store them.

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    How To Store Port Wine

    Wine Storage

    Storing wine may seem like a real art to most, but its not as hard as people make out, as long as you keep the following factors in mind:

    1. Bottle Orientation

    Unlike most other wines, try and store your Port upright where you can, as this will help the cork from becoming damaged over time.

    2. Stillness

    Try to disturb your bottles as infrequently as possible, treat them like a sleeping child.

    Stillness and lack of disturbances are key to a wine's longevity, as unnecessary movements can alter the taste of the wine. 

    So try to avoid using domestic kitchen refrigerators where you can, as these tend to vibrate quite a lot.

    3. Light Levels

    All wine, whether it be sparkling, white or port, needs to be kept out of direct sunlight and away from any potential UV rays.

    This will help to reduce the chance of any faults developing over time.

    4. Humidity

    Long-term storage of port wine requires a humidity level between 50-85%, and this will also help keep the cork in a good condition.

    Just be aware that any higher humidity will encourage mould damage so try and keep your bottles within this range and not over. 

    5. Temperature

    The best temperature for storing port wine is between 11 and 15°C (51-59 °F).

    Most wine cellars and specialised wine fridges should be set at this temperature range, meaning you don't have to worry about temperature.

    So taking all of that into account, what are the best places for storing bottles of port wine?

    How To Store Opened Port Wine

    Storing Opened Red Wine

    Here's the thing: as soon as your port wine has been opened oxygen is going to interact with it and slowly diminish the ports flavour and vitality. 

    So to help keep this pesky oxygen at bay for as long as possible, put a stopper or cork in the wine bottle and keep it in the fridge where possible.

    Yes, port wine can go in the fridge, but ideally its a wine fridge rather than a regular fridge

    And this can help keep the wine fresher for longer.

    Does this mean that unopened port wine should go in the fridge too?

    How To Store Unopened Port Wine

    Red Wine In a Wine Fridge

    The key to storing unopened bottles of port wine for as long as possible is to keep them cool and calm, like a sleeping baby.

    So find somewhere with:

    • Minimal exposure to light
    • Cool and consistent temperatures
    • Away from any disturbances caused from loud noises and vibrations

    A quality wine fridge works wonders here.

    They will have all the conditions your port needs, so you don't have to worry about humidity or temperature.

    So where is a good place to store port?

    Where Should You Store Port Wine?

    Red Wine Fridge

    When you’re looking for places to store your port wine it’s important to find somewhere that covers the criteria we talked about previously. 

    A wine cellar or a specialised wine fridge will be perfect for storing your port wine, having been designed with wine bottles in mind.

    If you don’t have either of those don’t panic, a garage, or food pantry will also work. 

    Just try to routinely check in with your port wine when you can and keep an eye for any changes in conditions which may affect your ports.

    So now you've found your perfect storage location for port, how should you place your port bottles once they're in there?

    How Long Can You Store Port Wine Once Opened?

    Port comes in lots of different styles, it’s what makes it such a fascinating digestif. So let’s look at what bottles of port you may have and how long they can last once opened.

    • Ruby Port - This easy drinking and deliciously smooth Port will need to be drunk within about 4-6 weeks of opening. 
    • Tawny Port - Tawny Port has been aged for at least 2 years which gives it a beautiful Snickers-esque caramel nuttiness, Drink within a month of opening if you want to keep those delicious tasting notes. 
    • Vintage Port - This blend of multiple vintages has at least a decade of barrel ageing to its name and is the style of Port that has to be drunk the quickest once opened - about 2-3 days. 
    • Late Bottled Vintage (LBV) Port - A really interesting style of Port that has been aged for 4-6 years giving it a wonderful quality whilst being designed to be drunk young. So just like Ruby Port, aim to finish the bottle within 4 weeks. 
    • White Port - Perfect with tonic and lots of ice as an aperitif, White Port has a citrusy freshness that is at its best within  2 weeks of opening. 
    • Colheita Port - A really unique style of Tawny Port that is from one singular harvest and usually released a decade after it has been made, giving it lots of sought after complexity. Drink within 2-3 weeks of opening to do this Port justice.

    But what about your unopened bottles?

    How long can your Port stay unopened

    How Long Can You Store Unopened Port Wine?

    Thankfully, unopened Port can last a lot longer than opened Port, vintage Ports can last 20 years or even 30 years plus, generally a bottle of unopened Port will last at least 10 years.

    So no need to panic about the bottle you’ve completely forgotten about. 

    As a rule, once you’ve bought (or been gifted!) a bottle of Port you’ve got a couple of years to play with before you should really open the bottle.

    • Drink younger, fresher styles of Port such as Ruby and White within 1-2 years.
    • More complex, aged styles of Port such as Tawny and Late Bottled Vintage can last for about 5 years unopened. 
    • Port that has been given lots of time in the cellar, such as Vintage and Colheita, can last a lot longer as a result, so you can keep these bottles unopened for many years to come. 

    So how should you store your Port to keep it at its best?

    Does Port Wine Go Bad?

    Just like white and other red wine, port is capable of going bad too, if left unchecked for too long. 

    What should you look out for to see if your port wine has gone bad?

    How Can You Tell Port Wine Has Gone Bad?

    How To Tell If Red Wine Has Gone Bad

    There are a few key signs that a port wine has gone bad:

    • What colour is the wine? Is it bright and light or has it gone slightly dull and pale in colour? If it’s looking a little tired, chances are it’ll taste tired, too.
    • How does the port wine smell? If you can’t smell the usual port aromas then there’s a chance your wine may have gone bad.
    • Finally, what does the wine taste like? If it tastes unpleasant, or more like a wine vinegar then perhaps it's time to say goodbye to this particular bottle.

    But could a fridge help to keep port at its best for longer?

    Do You Keep Opened Port Wine In The Fridge?

    Yes, like any wine, it's ok to keep your Port in the fridge.

    Just be aware that most kitchen fridges aren’t designed with storing alcohol in mind and a traditional fridge may keep your Port at too cold a temperature, and also exposing it to harmful vibrations and light.

    Alternatively, a specialist wine fridge is a great option for storing your opened Port, but can it work for unopened bottles of Port too?

    Do You Keep Unopened Port Wine In The Fridge? 

    Wine Fridges

    Unopened Port needs to be stored very carefully, in cool, low vibration and dark conditions, away from direct sun light. 

    A specialised wine fridge is a great option for storing your unopened Port. 

    If you don’t have a wine fridge try to avoid keeping your unopened Port in your kitchen fridge. The conditions will dry the cork out over time and could encourage oxidation in the bottle.

    Try a cool and dark cupboard or room in your house instead. 

    Does Port Wine Expire

    A fun thing about Port is that it doesn't have a set expiry date.

    However, just because Port can’t technically expire doesn’t mean that its quality won’t deteriorate over time - so don’t save your Port for too long! 

    It’s worth noting that individual bottles of Port best before date will vary and these are very much rough guidelines.

    As with all wine, it’s better to drink something a little bit early than much too late. 

    There’s nothing worse than saving a bottle for years only for it to deteriorated when you finally open it.

    Before You Go... 

    Wine Barrels

    We hope this provides you all the information you may need on how to store port wine?

    Interested to know more about how long wine lasts?

    Check out our full guide here:

    How Long Does Wine Last

    If you have any questions, leave them in the comments, or email us at info@expertwinestorage.co.uk

    Expert Wine Storage can help you find a luxury wine fridge to store your precious wine collection.

    philip thompson Author: Philip Thompson
    Philip is the General Manager at Expert Wine Storage, and is very knowledgable about all things relating to wine and wine storage, including wine fridges. He is regularly featured in media outlets sharing his knowledge on wine. Connect on Linkedin