Are there any sulfite-free wines?
Sorry, there is no such thing as a 100% sulfite-free wine. Sulfites develop naturally as a by-product of fermentation (all wine, beer, and cheese contain some natural sulfites) and their presence is so small that it normally doesn’t present a problem to anyone other than the most sulfite-sensitive. Sometimes, tiny amounts of sulfites are added by manufacturers to help prevent oxidation and spoiling, allowing the wine to age and develop its full flavor potential. Also, thanks to modern winemaking techniques, today’s wines have the lowest amount of sulfites that they have ever had.
Do I have to store my wine in a temperature-controlled cellar?
If you tend to keep wine around the house for short periods of time, then simply find a place in the dark with a fairly constant, moderate temperature (the bottom of a closet, a corner of the garage, etc.). However, if you have some fine wines that you want to store for longer periods of time, we recommend using a wine refrigerator. They are more affordable, available, and space-efficient than ever before, and they are your best bet at keeping your special wines in top condition.
Keep the temperature between 55 and 57 degrees, which is a good starting point for serving both reds and whites (you may want to cool down a white a bit more or allow a red to warm up to room temperature prior to serving). Keeping wines in your household refrigerator is fine for up to a couple months, but it’s not a good idea for long term. Since the average fridge temperature is well below 45 degrees, the lack of moisture can eventually dry out corks, which might allow air to seep into the bottles and damage the wine. The most important aspect in storing your wines (more so than achieving that perfect 55 degrees) is avoiding any rapid, extreme, or frequent temperature swings. Consistency is key!
Originally published in our Gold Wine Club's The Wine Press, Stateland Cellars and Double J Ranch edition.