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bottles of wine in refrigerator storage

Do You Refrigerate Wine?

If you've got a bottle of wine in your refrigerator, you're certainly not alone. Storing your wine bottles properly (both before and after opening) ensures you will enjoy it at its best. Wine is a delicate beverage, though. While some types of wine can withstand the test of time and evolve for decades, most wine is more delicate than you may think.

Should you refrigerate wine? This is a common question regarding wine storage, but the answer is not as straightforward as you might think! Let’s talk about storing wine the right way.

Table of Contents

How Oxygen, Heat, & Light Affect Wine

To understand why it's important to store both opened and unopened bottles of wine properly, let’s look at what happens to wine that isn't stored properly.

Oxygen, heat, and light are wine’s mortal enemies, and it’s your job to protect your precious collection from them. Storing wine in a cool, dark place is a good start. Doesn’t that sound like the fridge?

Refrigerated Red Wine Bottles

Yes, your average home refrigerator is cold and dark, but it’s not ideal for long term wine storage. Refrigerators are too dry, and the cork in your bottle will eventually dry out. Besides, you keep more than wine in the fridge—like garlic and other strong-smelling foods. Although corks are relatively impermeable, odors can and will find their way into the bottle of wine if you let them.

Instead, store unopened bottles of wine in dedicated storage space, whether that's a professional wine storage unit or simply a dark closet. However, unopened wine can be safely stored in the fridge if you plan to drink it within a few days; refrigerating wine is okay for short-term storage periods.

Storing opened bottles of wine is another story. In this case, you'll want to drink it pretty fast. Not even the best storage practices can ensure your opened wine will still be drinkable after a few days.

Use a wine stopper to keep opened wine fresher, especially if it's air-tight and fitted with an air pump. Air oxidizes the wine (effectively ruining it) and allowing microorganisms, such as acetic bacteria, to taint your wine with vinegar. Wine stoppers are easy to use, handy, and necessary for any wine lover.

wine stopper

The bottle’s cork is an effective way of protecting your wine for a while, but once the bottle is opened, the cork can’t prevent air from ruining your wine.

Generally, expect an open bottle of wine to still be drinkable after 2-3 days. If sealed tightly, it can last perhaps a week. Here is where storing wine in the refrigerator can help. Although you shouldn’t store your wine in the fridge long term, do keep any opened bottles in the refrigerator. Cold slows bacteria down, so keeping open bottles at lower temps means it will be okay to drink for a little bit longer.

Should you store your wine horizontally or vertically? Store your unopened wine bottles horizontally. If you’re storing leftover wine, keep the opened bottle vertically to prevent spills. Once the bottle is opened, there’s not much of a difference anyway.

As you can tell, storing opened vs. unopened wine bottles are very different tasks with distinct objectives. They're equally important, though. Storing your wine properly ensures your wine will always taste its best.

How to Chill Wine Before Serving

Speaking of refrigerators, the fridge is a reliable way of chilling wine, especially if you leave the bottle in overnight. Sparkling wine, sweet wine, rosé, and un-oaked white wine are especially enjoyable at fridge temperature, so plan ahead and pop these types of wines in the fridge the night before you plan to drink them.

Wait a minute. Isn't the refrigerator too cold for wine? Well, yes... but it's okay in this case. Home refrigerators typically keep their contents at 4°C (39°F), which is too cold for wine. But, by the time you pull out the bottle, uncork it, and pour the wine, it will already be a few degrees warmer. So go ahead and chill your wine in the fridge; it’s no biggie.

Keep in mind that different wines are best at different temperatures. For example, if you're drinking a full-bodied white wine, such as oak-aged Chardonnay, or any red wine, you'll want to enjoy these warmer than fridge temp. Serve these between 10-16°C (50-61°F), depending on the wine’s boldness. Instead of refrigerating them, you might want to chill these bottles in an ice bucket filled with ice cubes and water. For red wine, just a few minutes will do.

chilling a bottle of red wine in ice bucket

Wine Storage Tools & Tips

Wine service is undoubtedly more complicated than it seems, but it’s not rocket science. Store your wine glasses and bottles safely and extend the life of your opened wine bottles as much as possible with the proper techniques and tools.

It's now easier than ever to buy wine glasses online quickly and efficiently. The best wine glasses are not necessarily the most expensive, but quality-minded brands always deliver.

Whether you’re looking for a Zalto wine decanterGrassl wine glasses, or any other fine types of stemware, you can order online from a reputable store and enjoy the convenience of having it arrive at your door. The best glasses for red wine, white wine, and bubbly wine are just a click away!

wine travel case

There are many ways to protect your purchase so you can enjoy it for years to come. Carry your wine bottles and glassware in dedicated travel cases, top your bottles with proper stoppers, and serve your favorite wine in fine stemware and crystal decanters. To fully enjoy wine, you need the right tools and equipment, but that’s what makes wine so enjoyable. Wine is not only a drink but an experience.

For all your vinous needs, shop our full collection. CJF Selections is a Grassl Glass USA Importer—let us take care of your wine so it can take care of you.

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