White wine is an alcoholic beverage made of fermented, and usually, from white grape juice.
The skin of the grape dictates the end color. Occasionally, the type of wood used in wine barrels also affect the color. When white grapes are pressed, the juice is removed from the skins with little contact.
Some types of white wine can be made from skinless red grapes.
White wine differs from red wine in, first and most obviously, color. Under that skin, the pulpy part of a white grape is the same color as that of a red grape.
Selecting and Buying
Start somewhere in the middle of the spectrum, with a semi-dry variety like chardonnay, then work your way in either direction of the dryness scale on subsequent selections.
Look for the most recent vintages in the variety you select. Most white wines do not improve significantly with age in the bottle and reach peak flavor in the first one to two years.
Explore all your local wine outlets, including supermarkets and discount stores, once you have decided which white wine varieties you prefer. Prices can vary widely for the same wine from different vendors.
Note" Always keep your receipts. In many states, alcoholic beverages cannot be returned or exchanged without a receipt.
Conserving and Storing
Keep it in the dark. Store all wines away from light, especially direct sunlight and fluorescent fixtures. UV rays can cause wine to be 'light struck' picking an unpleasant smell. Darker bottles are better protected and some bottles have UV filters built into the glass, but enough UV rays can still penetrate to ruin the wine. If you can't keep a bottle entirely out of the light, keep it lightly wrapped up in a cloth, or simply put the bottle inside a box out of the way. If it does get exposed to light occasionally, try to make sure it's light from incandescent or sodium vapor lamps.
Store corked wine bottles on their sides. If they are stored upright for a long amount of time, the corks will dry out, and air will eventually get to the wine, spoiling it. If you store it label side up, it'll be easier to spot any sediments that may have formed in the wine over time when you do eventually pick it up.
Keep the temperature constant. For extended aging of wine (over 1 year), refrigeration is a must in most parts of the world; even a below-ground cellar is not cool enough.
*Wine storage temperature should never go over 75 degrees F (24°C), except for brief spans of time. At 75°F, wine begins to oxidize. An ideal temperature for storing a varied wine collection is 54°F (12.2°C). Letting the temperature drop below 54°F won't hurt the wine; it'll only slow down the aging process, as long as the temperature doesn't fluctuate dramatically.
*Temperature in a wine storage area should be as steady as possible; changes should be gradual. A 68 to 73 degree storage area is far preferable to one that is 45 to 65 degrees F, though the first approaches the dangerous 75 figure. Rises in temperature force wine through the cork; drops cause air to be sucked back in. The greater the changes in temperature a wine suffers, the greater the premature aging of the wine from overbreathing. The temperature should never fluctuate more than 3°F (1.6°C) a day and 5°F (2.7°C) a year, especially with red wines, which will suffer more temperature-related problems than white wines.
Don't move the wine. If possible, store the wines in such a way that you don't need to move them in order to reach a bottle to drink. Try not to move a bottle at all once it is stored. Even vibrations from heavy traffic, motors, or generators may negatively affect the wine.
Keep the humidity at around 70%. High humidity keeps the cork from drying and minimizes evaporation. Don't allow the humidity to go too high over 70%, however, because it can encourage the growth of mold and cause labels to loosen. You can purchase a hygrometer to track the moisture conditions and use humidifying or dehumidifying techniques as needed.
Isolate the wine. Remember that wine "breathes", so don't store it with anything that has a strong smell because it will permeate through the cork and taint the wine. Good ventilation may help prevent musty odors from entering the wine.
Store for an appropriate amount of time. Not all wines improve over time. Generally, new world, inexpensive wines will not improve. Red wines can be stored and aged for anywhere between 2-10 years to mature. This, however, depends on the type of red wine and the balance of its sugar, acid and tannins. Most white wines should be consumed after 2-3 years of storage, however select White Burgundies (Chardonnays) can be aged for over 20 years.
Adjust the temperature before serving. Different wines taste best at slightly different temperatures, which may vary from the temperature in which they were stored. Right before drinking the wine, allow the temperature to rise or fall to the appropriate serving temperature:
# Blush, rose and dry white wines: 46-57F (8-14C)
# Sparkling wines and champagne: 43-47F (6-8C)
# Light red wine: 55F (13C)
# Deep red wines: 59-66F (15-19C)
Store opened white wine in the refrigerator. This will only keep the wine for three to five days if you have already opened it; make sure the cork is in the bottle as tightly as possible. If you want to keep it in the refrigerator for a longer period of time after opening, purchase a wine stopper and pump, and hope for the best. The important thing is to minimize the wine's exposure to air. If you have a smaller bottle, you may wish to transfer the leftover wine to it, because there will be less air for it to contend with. A wine cellar or closet would be better for it, though, simply because of the long amount of time many people spend with the refrigerator door wide open, letting in large amounts of light, and, if you leave the door open long enough, heat. If you happen to have a refrigerator that you do not use often, such as a pool house refrigerator, keep it there. You may even consider turning a small fridge into a wine refrigerator.
Leave red wine out. For the sake of the wine, and for yourself, only do this with red wine, never white. Place the cork in the bottle, put the bottle in a dark place, and don't worry about it. This will help for a couple of days.
Keep dessert wines like Sauternes, most everyday Ports and most Sherries for longer. They will resist degradation for more than 3-5 days, though exactly how long depends on the individual wine.