Packaging & Storage
Most wines are sold in glass bottles and are sealed using a cork. Recently a growing number of wine producers have begun sealing their product with alternative closures such as screwcaps or synthetic plastic "corks". Some wines are packaged in heavy plastic bags, which are typically packaged further within cardboard boxes, similar to the packaging of breakfast cereal. Consumers may not be fully aware when purchasing box wine that it is not hermetically sealed like a bottle, and thus should be treated just like an opened bottle in terms of shelf life. The contents of boxed wine are typically accessed via a tap on the side of the box. In addition to being less expensive, alternative closures prevent cork taint, although alternative closures can also cause other types of wine spoilage.
Wine cellars offer the opportunity to protect alcoholic beverages from potentially harmful external influences, providing darkness and a constant temperature. Wine is a natural, perishable food product. Left exposed to heat, light, vibration or fluctuations in temperature and humidity, all types of wine, including red, white, sparkling, and fortified, can spoil. When properly stored, wines not only maintain their quality but many actually improve in aroma, flavor, and complexity as they mature.