A normal fridge can be good enough for cooling wine, yet there are a few rules to follow. While most of us think that white and rose wines should be served cold and therefore the bottles should stay in the fridge for a few hours and even days, this might not be the best idea.
Tina Morey, a certified sommelier leading educational programme #winestudio, shows us how to properly make use of our fridge to store wine.
Normal fridge versus cooler
Coolers are especially designed for being a suitable environment for wine, having the proper temperature, humidity (57%) in order to keep the cork in best conditions. A normal kitchen fridge is exactly the opposite. The temperature is lower than in a wine cooler and the humidity is of 0%. When the cork gets dry, it starts shrinking and air enters the wine.
“As a general rule of thumb, you should never keep wines in the fridge for more than a month because they are not designed for a bottle of wine,” according to Morey. However, if that is the only possible way for you, follow the next rules:
When to put bubbly wine in the fridge
You will often come across this advice, “You should always have a bottle of bubbly in the refrigerator in case an unexpected reason to celebrate happens.”. The advice is not entirely bad, considering that almost all bubbly wines, including champagne, prosecco and cava – will have the same problem regarding cork humidity.
“Sparkling wines have natural corks,” Morey says. “They should only be in the fridge for two or three weeks.”
So how can you always have a cold bottle of bubbly wine nearby for an unexpected event? Morey’s advice is to celebrate something at least once a month. You don’t even have to wait for a certain event to come up in order to open up a bottle of champagne or other bubbly wine. Therefore, a bottle that was kept for up to three weeks in the fridge can be served for dinner.
When to put rose wine in the fridge
Both white wine and rose can be kept in the fridge, but they shouldn’t stay there for more than a month. “The wine is going to oxidize a bit over a month,” Morey says.
Any bottle of wine that has cork will always oxidize very slowly yet since cork dries in the fridge due to a lack in humidity, oxidizing will take place much faster than in the outside environment.
In case you want to keep a bottle of white or rose wine for longer than a month, you should use a bottle with synthetic cork or screw thread, since they aren’t influenced by the humidity in the fridge and therefore the wine will not oxidize as fast.
When to put red wine in the fridge
Very few types of red wine need complete cooling before consumption, besides the bubbly wines such as Lambrusco. Red wines, however, should be kept in the fridge after opening.
“Once you open a bottle of red and are done drinking it, keep it in the fridge. Everything goes into an arrested state in the colder temperatures. The wine is still aging but it’s oxidizing slower than if it was on the kitchen counter.” Morey explains.
When you want to drink the wine, you should take it out half an hour before drinking it, so that it can reach its proper temperature.
Morey recommends keeping red wine with high percentage of alcohol – 14% or more – in the fridge for a short while before opening, to temper the alcohol.
Other tips for keeping wine in the fridge
Always keep bottles with cork with their neck down. “The number one thing with storing wine is you always want the wine to be in contact with the cork,” says Morey.
Also, keep unopened bottles away from the motor of the appliance, since it vibrates most and harms the beverage.
When closing a bottle of open wine before putting it in the refrigerator (or even keeping it on the counter), seal it as tightly as possible by putting the cork back in or using a wine stopper that fits really well.
Morey even recommends a wine condom – a plastic cover that looks like a condom and rolls over the top of a wine bottle to form a tight, virtually spill-free seal.