Whether it's store bought or homemade, how long do you store it before it's ready to drink?
We get asked all the time, "When can I start to drink this wine?" Well, that depends....
First off, only a small percentage of wine is actually supposed to be put away for years before drinking. Most commercial wineries hope to have their wines to be purchased and drank within the first 2 years after it's released. They are the ones that will barrel age and cellar anything to young to release to the public. Anything in the local provincial liquor store or cold beer and wine store, should probably be ready to enjoy right now. Realistically, not all wines get better with age. If you are looking at buying a bottle to age, talk to a reputable wine shop or buy from the vineyard. Do your research first!
But what about wine you've made from a kit? Most of the kit wines are crafted so that you can start to consume them fairly quickly. Some need as little as a week to get over "bottle shock" (see description HERE) and can be enjoyed right away. Others might need a month or two sitting in your wine rack to taste like they should. Some of the higher end kits might do well with at least 6 months to a year aging.
If there's some sharp flavours in your wine you're bottling, a little age will usually help smooth those out. Acidity and tannin keeps a wine from being too "flabby" (see description HERE) and can be a little harsh at first, but over time they can mellow. I've had wines that were almost undrinkable, for me anyways, sit in my wine cellar for a few months and be absolutely delicious the next time I try them. If you have bottled a wine that sounds like this, put it away for a month or two, then try a bottle.
Some reds are best drank young, and need little aging. These are wines where the fruit flavours are preferred - Garnacha, Merlot, Zinfandel, Malbec Some whites best drank young to enjoy their fresh, crisp qualities - Pinot Grigio, Verdicchio, Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc Rosés are made to be enjoyed within the first 2 years!
If you love your wine as soon as you've bottled it, please feel free to drink and enjoy it. It is YOUR wine!