Expert tips for keeping wine in your fridge
Get the connoisseur’s take on keeping wine fine at home
07 May 2021
One of the results of lockdown life is that online wine sales are soaring. Since it’s been tougher to get out, we’ve brought the wine shop to our door. When it was easy to shop little and often, we may have picked up a bottle of wine for dinner, but now we’re buying it by the case. And it’s not just quantity. According to the Telegraph, we’re buying better quality wine too. So, this is a great time to find out how you should be keeping your wine at home.
And without a dedicated wine fridge, how can we make the most of our home set up to keep wine at its best? Just because we’re in the middle of a heatwave, it may feel tempting to keep every bottle of white or rosé icy cold – but you might not be getting the wine at its best. Maybe it’s time for a wine crash course?
We’ve put together a few dos and don’ts of keeping wine in your fridge. We asked an expert from Virgin Wines for their take on what temperatures we should be drinking wine at. Plus, we’ve also looked at fridge features you should look for if you want to get the best wine environment.
Dos and don’ts of keeping wine in the fridge
Most wine shouldn’t be stored in the fridge long-term. But if you’re looking to chill some before enjoying a glass or you have a bottle already open – here are some great wine habits to get into.
DO store cork-stopped bottles horizontally
If your bottle has a cork in it, it’s good practise to keep it in the fridge lying down. Why? Lying bottles on their side keeps the cork moist and prevents seepage and ageing of the wine. Lots of fridges will come with wine racks for this purpose.
DO keep opened wine upright with an airtight seal
Just because you’ve opened a bottle, you might not want to finish it off straightaway. To keep It for longer, place some wax paper around the cork and slide it back into position. You can also use a rubber stopper or a wine vacuum pump. It will then keep in your fridge for up to 3-5 days.
DO keep opened reds in the fridge
One of the reasons that opened bottles of wine should go in the fridge is that low temperatures slow down oxidation – meaning it stays drinkable for longer. And this goes for red wine too. Think that red wine should never go in the fridge? Think again.
Virgin Wines expert Andrew Baker says “Lots of reds are better with a slight chill.” More from him later.
DON’T store your wine at the top of your fridge
It depends on the model, but lots of fridges are warmer at the top and cooler at the bottom. This is especially true if your fridge has a lot of food in it and is working harder. Wine should be kept a the middle or bottom of the fridge – away from the light where there are likely to be fewer vibrations.
DON’T keep wine in the fridge door
The more still you can keep your wine, the better. If it’s in the fridge door, it’s more likely to be shaken up – which speeds up ageing.
What’s the expert advice? Experiment!
What temperature should you best enjoy wine at? We talked to Andrew Baker, head wine buyer at Virgin Wines:
“Temperature is so important to wine, but the idea that all white wine should be chilled and all red wine should be room temperature is just wrong.”
Chill your reds
“Most red wine shouldn’t be served at room temperature – especially during summer months. You can keep most red wine in the fridge and take it out 20 minutes before serving to allow it to warm up a little. That goes for everything from big Australian reds to lighter Italian reds – cooling them down helps accentuate their flavour. The major exception is Bordeaux. That never goes in the fridge.”
“Lots of modern supermarket wine comes with higher sugar content. Unfortunately, this can blunt the flavour. To stop this from being overpowering, chill your wine a little before serving.”
Don’t overchill your whites
“Lots of whites suffer from being served too cold. You lose a lot of the complexity that way. When it’s something like a white burgundy or a Riesling, a little warmer is better.”
BUT some wine should be really chilled
“A wine like New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc should be chilled because it has a very intense aroma that is much more enjoyable when cold. This goes for nearly all summer rosés – except for Provence rosé.”
Don’t be afraid to experiment
“For some people, wine can be daunting. But it shouldn’t be. Use your fridge to experiment with temperature and find what tastes good to you. Wine shouldn’t be stored in the fridge long term, but it’s very useful to play with temperatures until you find what brings you the most pleasure.”
Wine ideal temperature table
To start you off, why not try serving wine at these temperatures? This is only a rough guide but use this table as a rule of thumb and then adjust to suit your taste.
5 wine-friendly fridge features to look for
- LED lighting: Energy-saving LED lights make it easy to see your wine and read the label.
- Inventory: Some top end fridges will tell you what wine you have in your fridge without having to open the door and disrupt the temperature. Samsung’s Family Hub Fridge Freezer has internal cameras – so you can see your fridge interior on your smartphone.
- Stable temperature: Since wine doesn’t do so well with fluctuations, it’s good to look for a fridge that can maintain its temperature. Siemens superCool feature means you can add extra food or wine to the fridge without lowering the internal temperature.
- Adjustable shelves: Customising the space inside your fridge means you can create a space for your wine where it won’t be disturbed.
- Chiller cabinets: Need a rosé cooled fast without the risk of freezing? Chiller cabinets can be kept at consistently cooler than the rest of your fridge.