How to store Merlot wine

What you have to pay attention to when storing wine is one thing. Among other things, temperature, humidity, light and other external influences play a role. The right location and ideal conditions are therefore important for collecting wine. But which wines are actually suitable for longer storage is another question that is at least as important. Because if you want to build your own collection, you have to know which wines are allowed to move in and which are intended for direct consumption.

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Anyone who stores wine is usually pursuing a goal. The noble drop should ripen in the bottle and thus develop and refine. It should only be drunk when it has achieved the right degree of maturity. Some wines can be stored for years, if not decades. But that is by no means possible with every wine. Certain factors decide whether a wine is suitable for longer storage and thus becomes even better - or, on the contrary, deteriorates.

Many wines are unsuitable

Most of the commercial wines that can be bought in shops are not suitable for long-term storage. They do not develop further in the bottle, but are usually intended for direct consumption. This is especially true for cheap wines. At the time of purchase they have already reached the optimum drinking point and do not benefit from longer storage. Therefore, they should be drunk shortly after purchase (at the latest after two years). Most wines can also be consumed afterwards without hesitation, but then they no longer taste fresh and appear rather bland.

What makes a wine last?

There are four ingredients that are decisive in ensuring that a wine is durable and can refine in the bottle. A noble drop that is to be stored for a long time therefore needs above all

  • Tannin
  • acid
  • extract
  • sulfur

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Tannins are tannins contained in wine that are able to bind oxygen. This is so important because wines age faster when they come into contact with oxygen. Sometimes (very small amounts) of oxygen enter the bottle through the cork. Tannins can then prevent them from aging the wine and ultimately spoiling it. And that's not all: They also convert the hostile oxygen into something positive. When oxygen, tannins, anthocyanins (coloring agents) and acetaldehyde (a by-product of oxidation) react with one another, one speaks of the Polymerization. Small molecules combine to form larger ones. Thanks to these compounds, the wine can taste smoother and finer, but it can also appear more complex. The longer the wine matures in the bottle, the more the molecules chain together until they are ultimately no longer soluble in liquid. That is also the reason for the depot that you often find at the bottom of older wine bottles. This sediment is a sign of natural ripeness.


Similar to tannins, acids also combine with other ingredients and ensure that the noble drop can be stored. With the so-called Esterification acids react with alcohol, creating so-called esters. These, in turn, can reduce the acidity and ensure that the wine has a much milder taste after a long period of storage. And that although the acid content does not, strictly speaking, change. In addition, so-called tertiary aromas are formed during the esterification. These are aromas that only appear through maturation in the barrel or bottle and which can be reminiscent of wood, tobacco, leather, nuts, damp leaves or the like, for example.

Also read: Which aromas are hidden in which wine?


Extract is made up of several components of the wine. In simple terms, it can be said that the extract includes everything that is left over when a wine is heated. Alcohol and water evaporate over time, while other ingredients such as sugar, proteins or minerals remain. A high extract value keeps the damage in check that can be caused by oxygen. A high sugar content also has a preserving effect on the wine, so that it has a longer shelf life. Therefore, wines made from late harvest grapes are particularly suitable for storage. Auslese, Beerenauslese, Trockenauslese or Eisweine usually have a very high extract value.


Sulphites (sulfur) contained in wine are responsible for ensuring that fine wines do not oxidize too quickly and turn into vinegar. That is why almost all wines are sulphurized. Sulphites can reduce acetic acid bacteria and bind oxygen. However, they will degrade over time. That is why sulphurisation alone does not make the wine long-term. It is important that he also has the other aspects mentioned above.