I've read that for home winemaking the wine will start to decrease in quality after about a year in the bottle. What steps can I take to maximize how long my wine will stay fresh?
A can think of a few factors to slow down wine aging time:
- Quality of the must to begin with. More complex wine will age better.
- Higher alcool content, might preserve the wine better.
- Quality of cork used, the more air will pass, the quicker the wine will age.
- Keep the bottles cold and away from light for best preservation.
- Make sure enough SO2 is present
Regarding SO2, you can add campden tablets to help preserve your wine. SO2 will "evaporate" when in contact with air (in fact it binds to oxygen, to protect the wine). I personally add campden only if I plan on preserving the wine more than a year. It is a good idea to decant the wine if SO2 was added to get rid of what is left of it before drinking.