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Storing natural wine – ask Decanter

Does natural wine need to be stored differently...?

Storing natural wine

Stephen Andressen, from Portsmouth, asks: My wife wants to have nothing but natural wines in the house from now on. I’m worried about storage. Do they have to be kept more carefully? And how long can I keep them?

Isabelle Legeron MW replies: Natural wines are much more resistant than people think.

I have been maturing lots of sulphite-free examples in my east London cellar for a number of years, and the wines are in perfect condition. It is very humid and naturally cool but not temperature-controlled.

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These wines are perhaps more sensitive than their conventional counterparts, because they are reactive to their environment. They are essentially a living product.

But, in any case, you would not want to store any wine at a consistently hot temperature, in the sunlight etc. The same applies to natural wine, so treat them as you would any other bottle.

‘In my personal experience, they can age for years and even decades in some cases’

Once open, natural wines actually last a lot longer than conventional examples. Just put the cork back in and most will hold their own in the fridge for days – sometimes weeks. I kept one example open for four months – an experiment I talk about in my book Natural Wine.

The ageability of a natural wine depends on how it is made and whether or not it’s for immediate consumption as some ‘vins de soif’ are bottled early and meant for drinking within the year.

In my personal experience, they can age for years and even decades in some cases. This usually seems to be down to the skill of the producer, starting with really healthy grapes and allowing the wines time to mature and stabilise properly before bottling.

There is no official definition of natural wines – ed.

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