Wine storage strategies


A friend of mine recently asked me about some wine she had in her fridge and whether it would be ok to drink. I asked her “how long has it been there?” She answered – “a few months”. Not sure that wine would be that drinkable.

How long do you keep most open wine?

Most opened white wine will keep in the fridge for several days. Red wine on the counter will keep for 3-5 days. Wine oxidizes more when it’s been opened and that’s why you want to pay attention to how you store it. When wine is oxidizes it loses it’s flavour and vibrancy, and the colour changes as well. You’ll notice the colour shifting to a browner shade, similar to when an apple or avocado is exposed to air.

Wine cellar at Decantos, Valle de Guadalupe

Where to store wine

There is a reason why you’ll see wines in caves! That’s because it’s cooler and that the humidity keeps the corks moist. Ideally you want to store wine in a cool dark place with a temperature between 45-65 degrees. If you are lucky enough to have a wine cellar in the basement or a cool area of your house, that’s great! Warmer temperatures can speed up the oxidation process, and some wines left too long in a warm environment will spoil and turn to vinegar! 

Do you keep wine in the fridge?

If you have a beverage fridge – great! If you are storing wine for a few days, the fridge will be fine. You can also extend the life of an opened red wine in the fridge, be sure to bring it to a warmer temperature to serve (between 60-65 degrees).

Be mindful of light

You also want to avoid too much direct sunlight or too much incandescent light. When wine is exposed to too much light, it affects the phenolic compounds, the chemicals in wine that give it the taste and mouthfeel. Wine can develop faults with too much light. A friend brought a bottle of champagne to a party once, and it had been stored in the sun. I noticed that the colour was quite yellow, and it had turned bad.

Store your wine bottle on their side

If your wine has a cork, the best way to store it, is on it’s side. That protects the cork from drying out. If the cork dries out, there is a potential for air getting into the bottle, that could oxidize your wine.

Keep your wines away from vibrations

Keep your wines away from a fridge or washing machine that may vibrate. Vibration can disturb the sediment and alter the chemical composition, that change the flavour of the wine.