Wine refrigerators, also known as wine coolers, are made for chilling wine to the appropriate temperature. Regular refrigerators are exposed to constant activity, causing their temperature to fluctuate. If you're not sure how to store your wine, you could be ruining your wine collection without even realizing it.
It's tough to know how to store wine properly in a wine cooler. A simple mistake can ruin your wine collection. But as long as you know how to use a refrigerator, you can never go wrong with storing your wine. Here is a simple guide on how to store wine in a wine cooler.
Tips for Storing Wines in a Wine Cooler
Store Wine Bottles Horizontally
When you store wine bottles horizontally, the cork will stay moist. This will help to prevent the cork from drying out and becoming brittle. For bottles with cork, make sure you store your wine horizontally in a wine rack. Keeping the corks moist will also help in long term storage, as a dried out cork can cause seepage and premature aging.
While it's unnecessary to keep screw top wine bottles on their sides, horizontal storage is an efficient way to store your wines for maximum space and easy access.
Store Wine in a Wine Fridge, Not a Regular Fridge
If you're looking to store a large quantity of wine or keep your wine at a specific temperature, you'll want to use a wine fridge. Regular refrigerators are too cold for wine and can damage the flavor. Wine fridges are designed specifically for storing wine and maintaining consistent temperatures between 50-55 degrees Fahrenheit.
Keeping your wine in a separate wine fridge also helps prevent cross-contamination from food odors. If you're concerned about the cost, then the wine is an investment, and getting a good wine fridge protects your investment. Take your time to shop for the best wine coolers and fridges that can help protect your winery.
Store Your Wine in a Dark, Quiet Place
Wine should be stored in a dark, quiet place. Too much light or too much movement can cause the wine to age too quickly. As your wine ages, it develops natural sediments that are an integral part of the aging process. Ultraviolet light and vibrations can damage and disturb this sediment, which can cause a wine's flavor to develop improperly.
Store Wine at the Proper Temperature
Unsuitably warm or cold temperatures can spoil your wine. The ideal temperature for long term wine storage should be 55 degrees Fahrenheit to preserve its flavor and aroma. Avoid areas with temperature fluctuations and never store your wine below 40 degrees Fahrenheit or above 68 degrees Fahrenheit.
For short term storage, 55 degrees Fahrenheit is still the ideal temperature, but you can store wine at room temperature as long as it is not in direct sunlight or near a heat source. Make sure you consult your manufacturer for temperature recommendations.
This is because temperatures below 40 degrees or above 68 degrees Fahrenheit can cause the wine to freeze or accelerate the aging process and destroy volatile compounds. You should keep your wine storage temperature as stable as possible, as temperature fluctuations can cause the cork to expand and contract, allowing the wine to seep out or air to seep around it.
Store Wine at the Proper Humidity
Wine needs to be stored at the correct humidity as well. A wine cellar humidity level between 60 and 68 percent is ideal, but you can store wine at a lower or higher humidity as long as it doesn't drop below 40 percent or go above 80 percent.
Humidity extremes in your wine cellar or storage area can impact your wine's longevity. At lower humidity levels, your cork can dry out, exposing the wine to the effects of oxygen, while higher humidity levels can cause labels to peel off the wine bottles, making them difficult to display.
Serve Wine at the Proper Temperature
The ideal temperature for serving wine is between 55 and 65 degrees Fahrenheit. Serving wine at the incorrect temperature can ruin its flavor. When preparing to serve a stored bottle to your fellow wine lovers, allow it to come up or down to the proper serving temperature. This ensures full expression of wine aroma and flavor.
Red wine should be served chilled slightly below room temperature, 58 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit. The age of the wine also determines the precise temperature. Older wines are held better at 61 to 65 degrees, while younger wines are on the colder end of the spectrum.
Red wines with stronger tannins should be kept on the warmer end of the temperature spectrum than lighter red wines. The lighter red wines such as Schiava or Pinot Noir should have a cooler storage temperature between 60 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit. You should serve white wines colder than the red ones, but don't keep them cold to interfere with their aroma.
White wine should be chilled between 45 to 55 degrees Fahrenheit. White sparkling wines should be on the colder end of the spectrum, the same as sweet white wines. Champagne should be served at the coldest at 38 to 45 degrees Fahrenheit.
Store Open Bottles of White Wine Properly
You should cork an unfinished bottle of white wine and store it in the fridge. It will stay fresh for about three to five days this way. If you don't have a wine fridge, find the coolest spot in your kitchen to keep it until you're ready for another glass.
By storing an open bottle of your white wine, you're extending its shelf life and retaining its original qualities. To recork your wine bottle, place some wax paper around the cork and slide it back into its original position.
The wax will ease the cork into the top and ensure no stray part of the cork drops into the bottle. Upgrade to a wine vacuum pump to enable you to suck the air out of an open bottle, creating a nearly airtight seal.
FAQs on Storing Wine in a Wine Cooler
How cold does a wine cooler get?
How cold a wine cooler gets depends on the temperature at which you would want to store your wine. Wine coolers can get even below 40 degrees Fahrenheit, but that doesn’t mean that you should keep your wine at that temperature. Always opt for the optimal temperature to keep the aroma and flavor of your wine alive.
How long can you store red wine in a wine cooler?
This depends on the type of red wine and if it's open or not. You can store it in a wine cooler for up to 2 days for open red wine. It can last anywhere between 1-5 years for unopened red wine.
How do you store different wines in a single zone wine cooler?
If you want to store different types of wines in a single zone wine cooler, it's best to keep them separated by style. So, for example, you would store all your whites and all your reds together. This will help to prevent the flavors from mixing.
Which direction should I store red wine in a wine cooler?
It's generally best to store red wine horizontally in a wine cooler, with the label facing up. This will help keep the cork moist and prevent it from drying out.
Final Thought on How to Store Wine in a Wine Fridge
If you're looking for ways to store your favorite wines in a wine cooler, these tips should help. Just be sure to keep in mind the different types of wine and how they should be stored, and you'll be good to go. By maintaining proper requirements, you'll be able to store your wine for extended periods without worry.