Wine for the apocalypse

So my husband bought a wine rack for the basement this winter and has been having fun picking out moderately priced wines and filling it up. I didn’t think to add it to my emergency food spreadsheet until just now! I have a formula in the spreadsheet that calculates how many days worth of calories we have, and this gave my supplies a nice boost. 

This will be a part of our rotating pantry so hopefully we won’t have any wine go bad. But I’m seeing confusing info on the shelf life of wine. Fine wines are supposed to last 20-30 years when stored properly, while other wines are good for 2-3 years. What’s the difference?? These are not fine wines and many have screw tops. Our storage conditions are not ideal – no temperature extremes but also not the ideal 55 F degrees. Maybe 65 in the winter, 75 in summer. 

Anyone have any insight/experience in wine storage?


  • Comments (10)

    • 4

      You probably already know the basics – store wine with corks on its side and try to keep it at a consistent cool temperature; heat will accelerate its degradation. Certain wines (especially reds with more tannins or sweet or fortified wines) will age better than other varieties. Most inexpensive to moderately priced wines these days don’t require aging and can be enjoyed any time. Consuming it as part of your rotating pantry sounds great – enjoy!

      • 2

        Thanks! I’ve drilled into it a little more deeply (found some better Google search terms) and feel like I’m learning more detail about what will last last and what won’t, which is more the type of wine (tannins etc as you pointed out) and not whether it’s a fine wine. I’ll try to keep on top of the rotation-I don’t even drink but it’s sort of my job in the house  to make sure food doesn’t go to waste! 

      • -2

        If one is stocking vital supplies for an emergencies, especially food, alcoholic beverages should have a very low priority.  There are hundreds of items more important to one’s welfare.

        And I like wine very much….

      • 4

        To be clear, I’m not buying wine for emergency storage….my husband is currently in a wine appreciating phase, and I just realized I could add the wine to my food storage spreadsheet and bump up my total calories! That said, there’s nothing wrong with backstocking some alcohol if you drink it. Store what you eat, eat what you store…it’s calorie dense and has a long shelf life, so why not keep it in your rotating pantry along with the lentils, rice, canned tuna and everything else? Side benefit of always having a hostess gift to grab on your way out to a party and being ready for last minute guests.  

      • 3

        I agree with you on keeping track of your wine stocks or any alcoholic beverage if you have it.  In my case I don’t drink much at all, I mean half a beer and I’m under the table but I cook with it.  I keep several bottles of red and white wines plus the small single serve bottles as well for use in various favorite recipes.  I can’t stand red wines so pouring out half a single serve bottle is better than a regular size bottle if no one is there to drink the rest.  Also an added benefit in having your stock is you can use them to barter with if needs be.

    • 3

      Have you considered getting a small press, demijohns and air traps etc with a view to making your own wine, cider or pasteurised pressed fruit drinks. You can also make wine out of a lot more than just grapes. Admittedly it isn’t always what people think of as a fine wine but a couple of years down the line and we may all be grateful for a glass of homemade wine.

      • 5

         We made this one years back but I have yet to use it.  I retire later this year, so my hope is to start pressing apples next year.

        press 1

        press 2

      • 3

        I love that cider press! Awesome!

      • 4

        We’ve never made wine but my husband did go through a beer brewing phase at one point, it was fun and came out good.

    • 3

      I keep looking into it, and wine storage really is a complex topic! I’m researching because we have this wine now-his sons just gave him some more for Father’s Day- and I really don’t want any of it to go bad. What I’m coming up with is that MOST wines should be consumed within a year of purchase-they may last longer but the quality will slowly diminish. Some specific wines will improve in quality over time and/or keep really well. And the distinction between fine and affordable wine is that mass production uses additives to standardize, so a particular brand always tastes the same. that process creates wines that taste great now, but don’t tend to age well. 

      The Wikipedia article on aging wine is actually pretty informative: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aging_of_wine