Do You Need to Refrigerate Wine?
The answer is yes you should refrigerate wine. There are many occasions when refrigerating wine is beneficial to ensuring that the quality of the wine is preserved. Wine is actually a very delicate liquid and exposing it to extreme heat or cold can shorten its shelf life or even ruin it, resulting in a wine that is undrinkable. and hot climates are very detrimental to how long wine will remain drinkable. Up until the end of the 19th century, the easiest solution was to use the cellar that was traditionally constructed underneath houses. Since the cellar was built underground, in most cases, it was an ideal place to store the family wine collection as it was cool and humid and did not experience large fluctuations in temperature, all attributes which are important to the successful conservation and storage of wine. However, during the 20th century, cellars were no longer considered an essential part of house construction, as well as the need for more housing with the creation of many storied apartments which of course did not have a cellar built into them. In current times, constructing a traditional wine cellar is a luxury. However, the existence or lack of a cellar does not change the need for wine to be stored correctly. If wine is not stored in the correct conditions, then it will deteriorate and even go off in a short very period. Understanding how environmental conditions impact the lifespan of wine is essential for anyone that enjoys it.
The Impact of Oxygen on Wine
Oxygen can be wines best friend as well as its worst enemy, however it is beneficial when a bottle of wine is first opened the oxygen encounters the different molecules in the wine, it starts the onset of oxidation which in small quantities works as a positive catalyst to express the natural flavors when the oxygen makes first contact with the wine. This is often why when you open a bottle of good or exceptional quality red wine it is commonly recommended that you decant it for at least one hour before drinking so that it has the chance to “open up.” When a bottle of wine is first uncorked, it often has what wine experts call a “closed nose.” The closed nose often hides the finest qualities and attributes that the winemaker has created in a particular wine. On the downside however, too much oxygen is also one of the worst enemies of wine as if a wine spends too much time exposed to higher levels of oxygen (otherwise known as the slow death) the wine will very quickly become undrinkable. How quickly oxidation occurs is also dependent on the blend in the wine as well as tannin and acidity levels. Usually if left unchecked and in full contact with oxygen, the contents of the bottle will be undrinkable in as little as 24 hours from when it is first opened This process can occur over a period of hours (dependent on how hot the external temperature is) or a number of days if the opened wine is stored correctly once it has been opened.
How to Chill Wine
There are many ways to chill wine which range from putting it in a bucket of ice to the desperate last-minute option of fast chilling it in the freezer (the downside is that if you forget the wine in the freezer, the bottle with either explode or the wine will become ruined as the different components of the wine separate once it starts to freeze. The most common method to chill wine is a traditional kitchen refrigerator. Depending on the coldness that is desired then the next decision is how to chill it. Should you use a kitchen refrigerator? Or should you use a special wine refrigerator to store the wine? Most wine consumers serve white, rosé, and sparkling wines chilled and serve red wines at room temperature and a conventional refrigerator is perfect.
If the wine is white, rose, or sparkling and if the wine is to be consumed immediately or in a few weeks’ time then storage in a conventional kitchen food refrigerator is the perfect solution. However, if the wine is red or you have purchased it to drink in the future or to lay down to age, then you really should consider storing it in a specialized wine storage refrigerator. If you do want to keep the wine in a conventional the refrigerator for more than a few weeks, then you should purchase wines with synthetic corks or screw tops as they are not as dependent on humidity and they have less of a chance of becoming oxidized, therefore having a longer life on the shelf in the refrigerator.
Best Temperatures for Serving Wines
To appreciate wine in its best condition it is essential to consume it at the correct temperature. These temperatures vary between the different wine colors and the chart below is a simple set of guidelines to ensure that your wine is enjoyed at the correct temperature. The purchase of a wine thermometer is the best way to measure the temperature of the wine that you are about to serve.
The recommended temperature to serve white wines is between 8-12°C (47 – 54°F) the wine that is still in the bottle should be chilled until it is drunk.
Rosé wine expresses itself best when served between 10-12°C (50-54°F)
Sparkling wines will be enjoyed between 5-7°C (45-54°F) and as in the case of white wine the unfinished bottle should be kept chilled and should be kept chilled.
Serving dessert wines between 5-7°C (45-54°F) provides optimal enjoyment.
Red wine has three distinct categories and each one of them will benefit from being enjoyed at a different temperature, chilling red wines lightly before serving them is often recommended so do not hesitate to pop them into the refrigerator for half an hour before serving to enjoy them at their optimal perfection.
Light and fruity red wines should be served lightly chilled at a temperature of 12-13°C (54-56°F)
Medium-bodied red wines should be drunk at a temperature of 14-16°C (56-60°F)
Full-bodied red wine should be served at a temperature of 16-18°C (61-65°F)
If the wine is supposed to be served at room temperature, be careful as room temperatures can vary, what is meant is that it should be served at 18°C (65°F). if it is warmer than this the wine should be chilled so that it reaches this temperature as serving it too hot can ruin the flavors and aromas and overall quality of the wine and can take on a soupy texture. In particularly hot temperatures it is recommended to put the bottle of red wine into the fridge for half an hour to make it taste fresher.
As mentioned before, temperature of a wine plays is an important enjoying it at its fullest potential and under optimal conditions. If a wine is served at the wrong temperature the expression that the winemaker has created for that wine can either be disguised which can mean missing some lovely aromas and flavors if the wine is too cold which would be a shame.
Humidity plays a particularly significant role in the preservation of wines sealed with a natural cork. Traditional refrigerators produce zero humidity as they are for storing food, not wine. Their lack of humidity is very detrimental to natural corks. If a bottle of wine stays in dry conditions for extended periods, the lack of humidity will cause the cork to shrink as it slowly begins to dry out. Corks are made to seal a bottle perfectly, thus ensuring that no oxygen the closed bottle of wine. When a cork starts to dry out, then it begins to shrink which leads to potential evaporation of the wines as well as the heightened risk of oxygen entering the bottle can start the oxidation process.
If a wine encounters oxygen during the ageing process, the result can be catastrophic causing partial or complete degradation of the cork and the wine often ruining it and rendering it undrinkable. As a rule of thumb, a bottle of wine should not remain in a conventional refrigerator for longer than a month. The bottle should must always be stored lying on its side to ensure that the cork and wine are in constant contact which means that the cork has a smaller chance of drying out and shrinking
Wine refrigerators are special refrigerators are constructed so that wine can be stored at optimal conditions. They have become an increasingly popular solution for wine storage for wine lovers that do not have a traditional underground wine cellar. It was the perfect solution and comes in assorted sizes. The special “wine refrigerators” which are available in many different sizes have special features which replicate conditions of a natural cellar such as a regulated level of humidity (around 57%) inside the unit which is very important especially for bottles of wine that have a natural cork closure as it prevents them from drying out and shrinking, thus damaging the wine. The temperature inside the wine refrigerator is thermostat controlled and the units come with either a glass or solid door. These units also have different temperature zones enabling any type of wine to age under ideal storage conditions without the necessity of having to construct a costly underground cellar. Wine refrigerators began to gain popularity over thirty years ago and wine lovers that as it was a perfect long-term storage solution for their favorite wines. This simple space saving solution. This simple solution can fit into any available space (there is a size option to fit any house or apartment size) and has taken the hassle and worry out of storing premium wines at home and has encouraged people to start their own wine collections at home.
Ca’Lefort is one such company that has made it its mission to create and to offer the finest solutions for long term wine storage. The founder Mr. Kenneth a very enthusiastic wine connoisseur who decided to create a wine storage system that would be suitable for any wine lover with a variety of different systems and a size to suit any wine lover irrespective of the amount of free space that they had in their home. His mission was to create a storage system that would be easily accessible for consumers to store their wines in the absolute best conditions possible.
If you want to extend the life of your opened bottle of wine, then you should store it in a conventional refrigerator or a wine refrigerator. If you store it on the kitchen counter of a cupboard. The opened bottle shelf life is dramatically reduced if the wine is in full contact with the harmful elements that cause it to oxidize quickly and then it often resembles the taste of vinegar and is undrinkable.
How Long Can Wine Last Unrefrigerated?
A good bottle of wine can last for years, unopened bottles that are stored correctly can last for a number of years. The use of a wine refrigerator, a traditional wine cellar, or a specialist wine storage service are all solutions to ensure that your wine has long happy life. Storing wine in your kitchen is the most certain way to ensure that they will not last long, keeping wine in cool condition or properly refrigerated is the best option.
A conventional refrigerator is especially useful short-term way to extend the life of a bottle of wine once you have opened it. Once you open a bottle of wine the oxidation process begins in full swing. If you do not want to consume the entire bottle in one sitting, then here there are simple steps that you can follow to make it last more than one day. The best way to preserve the wine is to remove the oxygen from it or at least slow down the process of degradation. One uncomplicated way of doing this is to close the bottle with the original cork or a good wine stopper and put it back into the fridge (this applies to both red and white wines). The cold temperature will slow down the oxidation process. Remember to take the red wine out of the refrigerator an hour before you want to consume it so that it can warm back up to the correct temperature.
When a wine is stored correctly in a refrigerator, it can last several days, for example a light-bodied red or white wine can last up to three days while a full-bodied red or white wine can last up to five days. A rosé wine can last for up to seven days, but sadly Sparkling wines have the shortest life span of one to three days while fortified wine can last for up to a month.
Other Tips to Store Unopened and Opened Wine
If you do not have a wine cellar or a wine refrigerator there are other simple things that you can do to keep your wine protected from the elements such as extreme heat, cold, and light.
It is best to store the wine in a cool dark space such as the bottom of a cupboard or a cool corner of the garage. The wine should be kept in sturdy containers such as Wooden boxes (Wine cases are ideal though hard to come by these days) alternatively plastic useful boxes are a very good alternative and, in any case, you should ensure that your bottles of wine are exposed to as little light as possible and that the temperature (10-12°C - no more than 54°F is ideal° does not fluctuate too much. If you use clear boxes, wrap the bottles in towels or sheets to block out light. As it is very important to keep the corks moist, the bottles should always be laid on their sides and it is also important to store the wine in an area where their storage containers have the minimum amount of movement as sloshing the bottles around can lead to damage and then you will unexpectedly open a bottle of wine only to discover that it is undrinkable. If you have a large collection of wine, then there is also the alternative to having it stored in special wine warehouses where the wines are stored in ideal conditions, but this is often very costly and the main disadvantage if the fact that you do not have easy access to your wines when you want to drink them. As mentioned before, if stored correctly unopened wine can last many years which gives them to time age and develop to their full potential.
In conclusion, wine is a very delicate product and if cared for correctly can provide an immense amount of enjoyment. If you are an avid wine lover who wants to start your own wine collection or keep a small collection of bottles on hand, with the assurance that few bottles with the assurance that every glass of your favorite wine that is poured is perfect, then the acquisition of a wine refrigerator is the solution for a lifetime enjoyment of wine.