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Refrigerate leftover red wine ...... or not?

In the topic about wine stored in the basement over the summer, Bill Hunt makes the point that gradual temp changes are less offensive to wine than quick changes. I've known that for a long time but am not at all sure I could guess what the consensus here would be about how much is too much and how quick is too quick.

The guy I work for stores our BTG whites in a fridge/cooler at night but leaves the reds out based on Bill's point. I've been told, by other 'experts', that reds should be refrigerated as well. The temps I'm talking about are room A/C temp of 70 and cooler temp of around 36.

Is the 34 degree swing too much..... given its a fridge and relatively quick? Or just too much..... period? Or OK?

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  1. Big fan of refrigerating reds.
    Cooling down is a good thing.

    Tonight I drank a Tempranillo that has been refrigerated for quite a while and while it wasn't at it's best any more it was better than much wine by the glass at restaurants.

    1. I use Vac-u-Vin closures, and also place the reds into a slot in the 'fridge."

      I just have to remember to take those out, to let them warm up, prior to pouring.



      1 Reply
      1. re: Bill Hunt

        This is what I've done for years. Wine keeps a long time without turning this way.

      2. Saving an opened wine in the fridge is doen for the same reason you keep foods in the fridge; it slows down decay.

        I recok unfisnihed red wines and place in fridge and they keep well, certainly much much better than if left out of fridge.

        Try it for yourself...

        Personally I think those vac-u-vin things do no good at all.

        7 Replies
        1. re: Gussie Finknottle

          I personally store opened reds in the fridge all the time. My intent here was to see what others would think.

          My take on VacuVin is that it helps but can lose its vacuum quickly, so it should be re-pumped frequently if it can be. Supposedly there's a new version that has a built-in gauge you can check

          1. re: Midlife

            There is a solution that is far better than either vacuvin or inert gas. The best part is that it is also FREE!

            Small water bottles com in 500ml, 333ml and 8oz. Fill them to the very top with wine and put the cap on tight. If the bottle is not completely full squeeze until the wine is level with the top and then put the cap on tight. Store in fridge for up to a week with no appreciable deterioration.

            The wine gets no air except during the transfer.

            1. re: jock

              I wouldn't choose plastics for wine storage but your point is well taken about screw cap glass bottles, if one has the right amount to fill completely.

              1. re: mcf

                I was not suggesting it for storage. We are talking about such a short term (ie a few days) and the bottles are food grade that I cannot see any problem. I am quite certain from long experience that this is far and away the best way to save a partial bottle for up to a week. It is the only way I know to keep air away completely. I have seen and used half-bottle glass decanters that doe work well but they cannot be squeezed to eliminate all air when the amount to be saved is more or less than exactly half a bottle.

                Vacuvins do not remove all of the air and their seal is highly unreliable. Cruvinets work well but they are for restaurants to dispense wine, not for saving a partial bottle. Spraying inert gas does not work any better than a vacuvin.

                1. re: jock

                  Food grade plastics leach endocrine disrupting BPA and other chemical undesirables, too many for my personal preferences.

                2. re: mcf

                  Jars will do, too, though they don't pour as neatly. I routinely make Russian dressing using the glass-jarred chili sauce that's next to the ketchup at supermarkets. Those jars have metal lids and are just the ticket for leftover wine, and pour neatly.

                3. re: jock

                  I use water bottles all the time - it does keep wine very well. I thought it was my own little trick!

            2. Assuming it's being left out in a very dark place at a constant of 70 degrees - I'd leave the red out and maybe pop it in the freezer for 5 minutes prior to serving if it "feels" warm.

              Except for 3 months during winter - it often kicks up past 70 degrees in various corners of my home, plus it gets a fair amount of sunlight. So leaving it out is usually not safe.

              1. Hi, wine novice here, hoping for a bit of advice. I usually keep my wines in the back of a closet where it's relatively cool and dark. I had to leave town for the month of June, and, worried that a heat wave during my absence might cook all the wine, I put them in the fridge before leaving. (The heat was, indeed, brutal.) I've opened one since my return and it seemed fine. My question is, should I put them back in the closet? Keep them in the fridge? Drink them as quickly as possible? It's not a lot of wine, about a case and a half. They're mostly Riojas, reservas and gran reservas, nothing older than 15 years.


                Edit: they're all reds BTW.

                2 Replies
                1. re: 5secondrule

                  There is nothing wrong with the fridge for short term storage (e.g. a few months). It's not good for long term storage (e.g. years) as the humidity isn't right and the constant vibration of a regular fridge is not ideal.

                  Most people are not trying to age their wines for years. As a result, the fridge is much better than an environment where temperature spikes into the high 70s and 80s.+

                  If you're planning to drink these wines in a year, there is no harm in my opinion in keeping them in the fridge until the temperature stops spiking (say in October) and then taking them and putting them in a closet.

                  If you are expecting to keep these wines for 10+ yrs - I would look into wine storage.

                  1. re: goldangl95

                    Thanks for the advice. I'll take your suggestion and keep them in the fridge for a few more months. They'll probably all be drunk by then, anyway! They're aged Spanish reds at the low-ish end of the price spectrum, and so from what I understand they won't benefit much from more years of cellaring.

                2. I use my chamber vacuum sealer and store the bags of wine in the basement -- works a treat.

                  1. I transfer to a Pot Lyonais (500ml or 250ml), use Private Preserve (argon gas), and then store in the fridge. Sounds like more work than it is. I've found the vacu-vin pump not much better than re-corking.

                    Most importantly I can come back to a red a week later with little deterioration. I once had one sit for two weeks, and it was still 90% of the way there. Not bad all things considered.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: Klunco

                      Just an observation, but Private Preserve is a blend of gasses. Works fine for most situations but not as well as 100% Argon.

                      1. re: Midlife

                        That's good to know; I had no idea. I've found the blend sufficient for my needs so far, but am curious, where do you buy argon gas and how do you apply it?

                        1. re: Klunco

                          I sell a unit but marketing like that is not permitted on Chowhound. You might try Googling "Argon wine preservation" and looking for a Google ad for a hand-held unit that does it. It's designed fir restaurants, wine bars, and wineries mostly.

                    2. I performed a strange experiment. Put a bottle of very bold red in a freezer, I was curious if within 5+ hrs available to me I would see any signs of freezing. I did not see anything of the sort. Why would I want to do it? I was taking this wine as BYOB to a restaurant in Napa and while driving for 1.5 hr in a modest heat in a convertible I wanted to have a built-in protection against this ambient heat. So after freezing it for 5+ hrs I put it into a styrofoam container, wrapped in winter down parka, put in the trunk and off we went. The wine was still fairly cold when we sat by the outdoor table at 5 pm, we needed another 30 mins to reach it about 55 but it was wonderful drinking afterwards. What did I learn? 1. Even in 5+ hrs at 0 F no sign of freezing, 2. next time I need less than 5 hrs of cold soaking to go to the same restaurant 3. I sensed no deterioration in wine quality.
                      I know it is an old thread just wanted to register results of this strange experiment of mine.

                      9 Replies
                      1. re: olasek

                        One of the long-time posters here has stated that she will freeze wine after doing tastings to preserve it. She actually gets it to freeze and reports to negative effects.

                        1. re: Midlife

                          Curious, how long she has to wait for (red) wine to actually freeze?

                        2. re: olasek

                          I've forgotten about wines I put in the freezer and had the cork pop out and/or the bottle crack. Whether that was more than five hours I'm not sure.

                          You might want to check the temperature of your freezer.

                          1. re: Robert Lauriston

                            >> You might want to check the temperature of your freezer.

                            Like I said, 0 F.

                            1. re: olasek

                              Checked with a separate thermometer? The built-in ones sometimes go off. I'd expect a 750ml bottle to be at least partially frozen after five hours at that temperature.

                              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                Practically brand new, fairly high-end machine. I have no reason to suspect faulty temp. measurement. The foods are solid frozen, I see no signs that something could be wrong. Perhaps I could use another thermometer just for confirmation.

                                1. re: olasek

                                  I've had thermostats be miscalibrated in new, expensive equipment. The food would feel as solid at 25F as at zero. The freezing point of a 15% alcohol solution is 20F, so it would never freeze.

                                  1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                    I was finally able to measure temp. inside my freezer, and it is in fact close to 0 F. So here we go - 5 hrs in 0 F wasn't enough to show signs of freezing in this red wine.

                          2. re: olasek

                            I will occasionally put a bottle into the freezer on top my fridge for a short while for a quick cool-down. I would not put wine into my standalone freezer.

                            And I always refrigerate leftover red wine. with a vacu-vin cork. helps keep it good for the next day.

                          3. In response to the questions here about freezing wine I did a search for the topics I'd seen about doing that. Melanie Wong was the CH who'd written about this and one of her posts linked to the sfgate article I've linked below. It is one of the most complete discussions of preservation I've read, though I don't agree with everything in it.

                            Towards the end the writer gets into freezing. After reading all this I'm not sure that "freezing", as the word used throughout, necessarily means freezing SOLID. The point of using a freezer is to get the wine very cold to stop degradation, so getting it solid may not be necessary.

                            Here's the article:

                            4 Replies
                            1. re: Midlife

                              Wow. I think I'll try Wiegand's freezer and microwave approach in a triangle test and see if he's right.

                              Personally I buy mostly wines that don't fall apart overnight if I don't finish the bottle.

                              If you're reading on a not-very-smartphone, the non-mobile version of that page will probably be easier to read:


                              1. re: Midlife

                                >> necessarily means freezing SOLID.

                                I wasn't actually expecting it. Apparently getting it SOLID won't be possible in your home freezer. You can only get a slushy substance but never a solid one. So in my experiment I was looking for such slush.

                                1. re: olasek

                                  Does it make a slush or does the alcohol separate?