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Jul 26, 2014 07:49 PM

Storing unopened wine in the refrigerator?

Admittedly this is a first world problem

my wine cooler is small - it only holds 8 bottles and now it is full, a larger one is not an option or a necessity right now.

While most of the wine I drink never makes it there I keep better bottles in there - ones that can age and ones are a bit pricey for everyday burgers and pizza wine and await a special meal. My preferred wine shop makes a big deal about shipping their wine at cave temps and keeping their store at temp too so that the wine never "cooks" and looses its freshness - I like to respect that in storage - especially in summer my house gets warm - I dont run the AC when I am gone all day and I dont want to ruin my wine.

so the big question - is the fridge too cold or can I store bottles in there?

Not the long term save it for a few years bottles but the waiting for the right time bottles. When I like something at I like to buy a few bottles of it - I have to cross state lines and pay a bridge toll to shop for wine so I can't just pick it up when I want it.

Is holding red wine in the refrigerator and letting it come to temp before serving preferable to storing it a room temp, with all the variety and fluctuations expected?

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  1. I wouldn't. I would put wines in close to service time to cool them to temp but otherwise, I'd find the coolest place in your house and store your wines there. The humidity in your regular fridge is not amenable to you wines, for one thing.

    1. If the temperature in your house goes above 80-85 F when you are not home, I would certainly put the wines in a fridge--particularly if this is a short-term kind of thing. The humidity factor, IMO, is unlikely to be an impact if you don't intend long-term storage while hot temperature will have a more likely short-term affect on the wines.

      1. Long-term or short?

        Two problems with long-term storage are the humidity and the vibration.

        Short-term, no worries.

        3 Replies
        1. re: zin1953

          Could you define approx. what is long and short please?

          1. re: c oliver

            YMMV, but I generally think you're fine for 6-8 weeks; you're not if it's over one year. In between, it depends upon the wine. For example, I wouldn't store an old(er) red in a "regular" (food) refrigerator at all. Younger wines are "tougher" in terms of the amount of "abuse" they can handle, but even then -- Cabernet is, for example, more "sturdy" than Pinot Noir.

            In other words, there is no one answer, and "one size fits all" never does.

            1. re: zin1953

              Thanks. That gives me some guidelines.

        2. A house that's varying from cool to warm every day could seriously damage your wines in a relatively short time. Probably better to keep them in the refrigerator if that's the only cooler place you have.

 has a 28-bottle cooler for $220 including shipping. You can fit more bottles in if you remove the racks and just stack them.

          1. >> especially in summer my house gets warm -

            All parts of it? How about garage, basement, etc.??

            4 Replies
            1. re: olasek

              its a small urban row-house 19th century, solid brick (basically a habitable pizza oven)

              I have central air but don't run it 24/7 because it's not super efficient so yeah - it fluctuates and does get warm - the basement is not particularly cool but a bit cooler than the rest of the house - and is quite damp with rubble walls - the Philadelphia river wards were basically swamplands.

              these are not long-term storage bottles - the few that qualify for that stay in the wine cooler - these are $20 - $40 bottles of wine - for me a bit more than every day cookout wine - saved for a nice dinner at a BYOB - but when I break them out I want them to taste good - not "cooked" the terrible word my wine sellers have ingrained in my head. I may hold them for a few months but we are not talking years.

              I am gathering that for this - fridge is better if not ideal.

              1. re: JTPhilly

                The basement might be better than the fridge. You might invest in a minimum-maximum recording thermometer to check the temperature ranges in the house, basement, refrigerator, and any other possible locations.


                1. re: Robert Lauriston

                  I'm with Robert here on the basement over the fridge. There are going to be some wines that will end up in the fridge longer than you think they will. And you're gonna be disappointed. I've seen it happen over and over again.

                  I would invest in a small wine fridge for the "really special" bottles, and put some racking in the basement for the rest. A fan down there might also be a good idea.

                  1. re: ChefJune

                    the "really special" bottles are in the wine fridge it only holds 8 which is fine

                    I can make some basement storage but I am just going to have to drink some of it up I guess I really don't need to store too much anyway.

                    thanks for all input -