Do You Refrigerate Wine? [Guide to Reds vs. Whites] – Surely Non-Alcoholic Wine
You don’t need a wine cellar to do right by your wine, but there are a few ways to store and serve your wine to keep it tasting its best.
Do you refrigerate open bottles of wine? Yes, you do refrigerate open bottles of wine. This is true for both red and white wines.
Are you looking at that open bottle of red wine on the counter with confusion already? Let’s get into why (and when!) it’s best to refrigerate wine, along with a few wine storage tips to keep your wine and wine knowledge fresh.
Table of Contents
Effects of Oxygen on Wine
How to Preserve Wine
Storing and Serving Red Wines
Storing and Serving White & Rosé Wines
Storing and Serving Sparkling Wine
How to Chill Wine Fast
The Crisp, Non-Alcoholic Whites You’ve Been Looking For
Effects of Oxygen on Wine
Oxidation happens when a bottle of wine is exposed to air. It doesn’t happen immediately, but the chemical reaction can affect the wine’s taste, body, and aromas over time.
It can also be a good thing if it’s happening in a controlled way. You’ve probably heard all about giving wine time to “breathe.” That’s why you may see sommeliers swirl a fresh wine around before serving it at a wine tasting.
This releases intended aromas in a wine. It may even soften the tannins in more full-bodied types of wine. You don’t need a fancy wine aerator to do this yourself. Pour the wine into a decanter if you’re drinking it all in one go, or swirl it around in your glass for the same effect.
How to Preserve Wine
The best way to preserve wine is to keep it as close as possible to the winemaker’s intentions when sealing up an open bottle.
Try to recork the bottle using the original cork with the same end inside the bottle as before. You don’t know where the top of the cork has been and certainly don’t want potential contaminants touching your wine. If your bottle has a screw cap, this part of wine preservation is even easier.
If you can’t use the original cork, a wine stopper works well, but you don’t even need to get that fancy with leftover wine. A piece of plastic wrap wound tightly around the lip of the bottle and then held there with a rubber band is a decent short-term fix.
Wine gadgets that promise a vacuum seal and inert gas sprays are other options if you’re worried about the shelf life of more expensive opened bottles of wine. In most cases, the simple methods we described work well to keep your wine fresh after opening.
The most crucial part is not letting your wine sit on the counter uncorked indefinitely. Unless you’re decanting a bottle to finish in one sitting, recork an open bottle of wine immediately after you pour your wine.
Whether it’s red or white, refrigerate your wine in between pours. Just give your reds time to return to their ideal serving temperature before the next glass. A wine fridge is great if you plan on starting a wine collection, but your kitchen refrigerator is fine for this, too.
Storing and Serving Red Wines
Serving red wine the right way starts well before you uncork a bottle. The best way to store unopened wine is to keep the wine at a consistent temperature and limit movement. A cool, dark place out of direct sunlight is best if you don’t have a wine refrigerator.
Humidity between 50-80 percent is ideal, which isn’t too much of an ask unless you live somewhere with extremes. Use a dehumidifier if humidity at home goes above that number. Keep your wine bottles on a horizontal wine rack if they’re corked. Twist-offs can go vertical.
Do you refrigerate red wine? You don’t need to refrigerate red wine if it’s unopened, but red wine is at its best when stored at a temperature of about 55° F.
The ideal temperature for serving red wine is between 60-68° F. That should be cooler than room temperature, the temp most people probably go by when pouring reds.
If you already have some wine expertise and store reds at their preferred temperature, you still need to let them sit out for a bit before serving. A half-hour should do. Run lukewarm water over the bottle if you left your red wine in the kitchen fridge too long or you run short on time.
Once opened, red wine can last anywhere from 3-6 days before going bad. Full-bodied reds like a cabernet sauvignon can last longer once opened than a light-bodied pinot noir.
Fun fact: High-alcohol fortified wines, like port or sherry, can retain their taste for weeks, even years after opening. The shelf life is even longer, making them ideal for aging. There’s no expiration date on an unopened bottle of Madeira, for example.
Storing and Serving White & Rosé Wines
Store rosé wine and white wine the same way you store red wines. A dark, cool spot is your friend if you don’t own a wine fridge, and any wines with natural corks should be stored horizontally.
Do you refrigerate white wine? You do refrigerate white wine after it’s opened. If you have a wine fridge, you can store your unopened white wine at its ideal temperature between 45-50°F.
If you don’t have a wine fridge, that dark place you keep around 55° F should do just wine. A kitchen fridge is OK for short-term storage, but it may cool your wine down to as low as 35° F. That could affect the flavor.
The ideal temperature for serving rosé and white wine is somewhere in the middle of the ideal storage range, around 48° F. For the best temperature, place it in the fridge for an hour or 2 before serving to get the temperature down.
You may need to wait a few minutes on the other side to avoid serving over-chilled wine.
Once opened, rosé or white wines last between 3-5 days. Full-bodied white wines like chardonnay don’t last as long as wines with higher acidity, like sauvignon blanc. Treat dry, darker rosés the same as full-bodied red wines.
Storing and Serving Sparkling Wine
Sparkling wines like prosecco and champagne should be stored upright to reduce pressure on the cork. You don’t want to make a mess of your wine storage or speed up the oxidation process for a wine style that needs to retain its fizz.
Like white wine, you don’t need to store sparkling wine in the kitchen fridge. A wine fridge is best, but a max temperature of 55° F is just fine.
The ideal temperature for serving sparkling wine is ice cold at about 40-50° F. This is colder than your white and rosé wines because of those bubbles. Serve a sparkling wine any warmer, and you may lose out on some of that trademark fizz or spoil your wine.
Sparkling wines like prosecco or champagne may only last a day or 2 after opening before going flat. Use an ice bucket between pours to keep it at its ideal temperature. If you keep it overnight, cork your bottle with a champagne stopper before setting it back in the fridge.
How to Chill Wine Fast
If you forgot to chill your wine and the guests are on their way, there are a few ways to chill wine quickly and effectively:
- Give it a bath. We’re not talking about a bubble bath. Slip your bottle of wine into a salted ice bath, moving it around every minute or so. It should only take about 5 minutes for your wine to cool. A wine bucket is excellent, but a mixing bowl can do in a pinch.
- Stick it in the freezer. This isn’t the fastest method —it’ll take at least 30 minutes to chill your wine —but it’s easy and doesn’t require much effort. If you have the space, set your wine in the freezer horizontally to save time. Just don’t forget about it there!
- Serve it with frozen grapes. Frozen grapes are the new ice cubes if you want to chill a glass of wine whimsically We love this with ice wine, a super sweet dessert wine made of grapes that froze on the vine.
The Crisp, Non-Alcoholic Whites You’ve Been Looking For
If you’re a fan of chilled wine already, you’re probably all about white wines. Wine lovers who want to cut back on alcohol don’t have to leave those white wines behind. Surely’s non-alcoholic sauvignon blanc is a light, crisp bottle of perfection with the alcohol removed.
Feel like some fizz? Try our non-alcoholic sparkling Brut. This delicious sparkling white also comes in cans if you want to get playful with it.
- Model aging and oxidation effects on varietal, fermentative, and sulfur compounds in a dry botrytized red wine
- Wine oxidation and the role of cork
Do You Refrigerate Wine | Discover if Wine Needs to Be Refrigerated, Red Wine Storage, & Proper Rosé Chilling – Usual
It’s a question wine lovers can’t seem to stop asking: Do you refrigerate wine before opening? Or do you refrigerate it after? Or both? Maybe you just drink it straight out of the bottle without ever even making it to the fridge? (We’re kidding. But we’re also not judging.)
In this guide, we’re sharing some top tips for refrigerating wine, including how to store it before and after you open the bottle, the best wine temperatures for different wines, and what to do when you need to chill your wine fast.
Does Wine Need to be Refrigerated?
There’s no single answer to the question, “Do you refrigerate wine?” The more accurate answer is yes, but the “when” and “how” depends on which type of wine you’re talking about. All wines require slightly different temperatures because they all have varying chemical compositions.
For instance, white wines are marked by crispness and acidity, while the prominent characteristic of red wine comes from its tannins. Meanwhile, sparkling wine has carbonation, dessert wine comes with more residual sugar, and fortified wines have higher alcohol content.
These factors play a role in when and how you chill your wine. But before we get into the details of refrigerating your wine, it’s critical to know the rules of storing wine before you even think about serving it.
Should Wine be Refrigerated?
No matter what type of wine you have, proper wine storage is the foundation for maintaining its quality. If your wine bottle goes bad before you even pop it open, it makes no difference what temperature you serve it at. From white to red to rosé and beyond, keep your wine bottles in a cool, dark place away from direct sunlight. This will help preserve the shelf life and slow down the deterioration process.
While having a wine cellar would be ideal, it’s not exactly realistic for most people. Fortunately, you can make do with what you have. Consider putting a wine rack in a space that’s removed from heat and light and cooler than room temperature.
It’s especially important to store wine bottles with a natural cork seal on their sides. Doing so helps maintain the cork’s moisture so that it doesn’t dry out and shrink, which lets in bacteria that could result in cork taint. (And you definitely don’t want to end up with a bottle of wine that smells like wet dog!)
How to Chill Your Wine
Much like a wine cellar, a wine refrigerator would be an ideal storage solution. But unless you have a sizable collection of wine bottles or have the budget (and space) for a wine refrigerator, there’s no need to buy one.
Also known as a wine fridge, wine chiller, or wine cooler, these appliances cost hundreds and sometimes thousands of dollars.
Instead, you can easily use your kitchen refrigerator — as long as you follow some basic guidelines on getting the right temperature. Let’s review some handy tips for how and when to refrigerate wine.
Best Temperatures for Red Wine
Once upon a time, the prevailing wisdom was that red wine was best served at room temperature. But the truth is that the ideal red wine temperature is actually a bit cooler than that. Red wine that is served too warm can taste flabby and overly alcoholic.
In general, the ideal temperature for full-bodied reds like Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec is between 60-65 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s the same for fortified wines such as Port, Marsala, and Madeira. Lighter-bodied reds such as Pinot Noir, Gamay, and Grenache are better served a little cooler than that at 55 degrees.
Place fuller-bodied reds in the refrigerator for 90 minutes and lighter versions for 45 minutes. You can then open the bottle (and decant it if you like) to let it breathe and warm up for 10 minutes before drinking.
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Usual Red is bright, fruity, and best enjoyed with a slight chill.
Best Temperatures for White, Rosé, and Sparkling Wine
Keeping white wine, rosé wine, and sparkling wine chilled punctuates their delicate aromas, crisp flavors, and acidity.
Fuller-bodied whites like oaked Chardonnay are best when served between 50-60 degrees, which brings out their rich textures. Dessert wines also are great in this temperature range.
Lighter, fruitier, and drier white wines such as Pinot Grigio and Sauvignon Blanc are ideal at colder temperatures, usually between 45-50 degrees.
Bubbly bottles such as Champagne, Prosecco, sparkling brut, and sparkling rosés should always be chilled to 40-50 degrees. These cool temps keep the carbon dioxide intact and prevent the bottle from unexpectedly popping open.
Store your white, rosé, and sparkling wine in the fridge for two hours. Then, 30 minutes before you open the bottle, remove it from the fridge and let it warm up ever so slightly. A wine that’s over-chilled results in muted flavors and nobody wants that.
Pro tip: If you frequently open your kitchen fridge (maybe you’re hosting a wine tasting party and getting the food ready), don’t put the wine bottles on the door. Instead, opt for space in the back or in the crisper to better regulate the temperature.
Do You Refrigerate Wine After Opening It?
Up until this point, we’ve focused on refrigerating wine that has yet to be opened. But what about open bottles? Do you refrigerate those? The answer is yes. Here’s what you need to know in a nutshell:
- Sparkling wine will last 1-2 days after opening
- Full-bodied white wine will last 3-5 days
- Light white and rosé wine generally last 3-5 days
- Red wine lasts about 3-5 days; some even taste better a day after opening
- Fortified wine will last at least a month after you open the bottle
For more details on how long you can keep wine (even after its past its expiration date), don’t miss our guide on preventing wine from going bad.
Easy Hacks for Chilling Wine Fast
While it’s always best to plan things out, life doesn’t always end up that way. So, when you’re in a crunch for time, here are some simple hacks that will help both you and your wine chill out:
- Salty ice bath: Find a container that’s large enough to fit the entire wine bottle and fill it with water, ice cubes, and salt. (Yes, we said salt.) Then, fully submerge the bottle of wine. As it turns out, salt brings down the freezing point of water, which means you can chill your wine faster — in 15 minutes or so. (Didn’t think you’d get a chemistry lesson, did you?)
- Freezer: Another fast fix you may have already tried is throwing your wine in the freezer. Do this 30 minutes before serving. Just set an alarm to prevent the bottle from cracking or exploding all over your freezer.
- Ice cubes: As much as it pains us to say this, if you’re really desperate to quickly chill a glass of wine, throw in an ice cube or two. Because the ice cubes will dilute the wine taste as they melt, only use this for unoaked whites or rosés that won’t suffer too much from the added water. You could also use reusable ice cubes, but they’ll warm up after a while, so have plenty on hand.
- Frozen grapes: A better alternative to ice cubes, try freezing some color-coordinated grapes that you can throw into your glass of white, rosé, or sparkling wine. They won’t dilute your wine and they add texture to your drink. Plus, they look pretty!
Storing Wine in a Dual Zone Wine Cooler
If you have a diverse collection of reds, whites, and sparkling wines, a dual-zone wine cooler might be an excellent investment. These coolers have separate compartments, each with its own temperature controls, allowing you to store your reds at their ideal temperature while keeping your whites and sparkling wines perfectly chilled. This can be especially useful if you frequently entertain guests and want to have various types of wine readily available at their optimal serving temperatures.
Chill Out and Enjoy Your Wine
Do you refrigerate wine? In a word, yes. But as you’ve discovered in this guide, there are a few details to keep in mind. Along with properly storing wine (on its side in a cool, dark place), you must take into account the type of wine you’re chilling. Contrary to what you might have heard, it’s not just white, rosé, and sparkling wines that need to be chilled — red wines also get the cool treatment, albeit not as much.
While refrigerating wine well ahead of time is ideal, not all is lost if you’re short on time. From salty ice baths to frozen grapes, there are some simple ways you can cheat your way into a quick cool-down without compromising on taste. Next time you’re ready to crack open a bottle of wine, use these helpful tips and get ready to enjoy it at its best.
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Do’s and don’ts when chilling wine
Sometimes a seemingly easy task requires a complex approach. Fortunately, wine cooling is not on the list of such tasks. Just follow a few tips and you will quickly get the optimum temperature.
Not all wines need to be chilled at the same temperature – it’s all because of the chemical composition. The basis of white wine is acidity. The structure of the red comes from its tannins. Dessert wines have varying amounts of residual sugar. Sparkling wine contains carbon dioxide (CO2). Everyone has a different level of alcohol. In addition, the temperature can soften or enhance the characteristics of the wine, depending on its characteristics.
Let’s start with the optimum temperature.
Red and Fortified Wines: It used to be a popular belief that red wines should be served at room temperature. But what does this mean? A room on a humid August day? No thanks. Unless you live in a European castle where your boudoir stays cool at all times of the year, the “room temperature” axiom is long outdated.
Red wine should be served between 16°C and 18°C. Lighter wines with strong acidity, such as the Loire Valley Cabernet Franc, like cooler temperatures. Put it in the fridge for 90 minutes. Thicker, tannic wines like Bordeaux or Napa Cabernet Sauvignon develop their flavors better at warmer temperatures, so they are best left in the refrigerator for 45 minutes. Red wines that are too cold have an inexpressive taste, while red wines that are too warm become weak and alcoholic. It is better to observe the golden mean.
Fortified wines such as port and Madeira should be served between 15°C and 18°C.
White, rosé and sparkling wines: Whites must be chilled to reveal their delicate aromas and acidity. But if they are too cold, the flavors become weak. Like red wines, dense whites (such as Chardonnay from Burgundy and California) like temperatures between 10°C and 16°C. Dessert wines such as Sauternes are also suitable for such conditions.
Fruitier and lighter wines are best served at a colder temperature, between 7°C and 10°C, or kept in the refrigerator for two hours. Most Italian wines like Pinot Grigio and Sauvignon Blanc like this temperature too. Wines can rarely be chilled below 7°C unless they are served on a very hot day.
But sparkling wines need from 5°C to 10°C, because carbon dioxide is better preserved in cold liquids. Prestigious vintage champagnes can be served at higher temperatures due to their complexity and weight. Prosecco, or other light, fruity sparkling wines, are best kept at 5°C.
How to chill wine
We plan ahead. This rule can be applied to almost any area of life. Place red and white wine in the refrigerator and take out an hour or two before dinner. The ideal temperature for a refrigerator is between 2°C and 5°C. If there are particularly cold places in the refrigerator that literally freeze your salad, they will be able to cool the wine even faster. But cooling in the door does not really play a role, but if you decide to put the bottle there and often open the refrigerator, it is better to put them back.
Freezer. We all did it. They put the bottles in the freezer while friends were looking forward to drinking, but forgot about them and watched the ice explosion in the morning. And while the quality may not deteriorate even at such extreme temperatures, there are risks. When the water in wine freezes, it expands and can knock out part or all of the cork, or even crack the bottle itself. This provokes the release of oxygen and oxygenation. If you are chilling wine in the freezer, set a timer for 30 minutes.
The best way to quickly chill wine. Put the bottle in an ice-cold salt bath. Take a bucket or container and add ice, water and salt. The ice will absorb heat from the water, which will lower the temperature. Salt helps to reach the freezing temperature – below 0°C. In human terms, salty ice water can chill rose wine in 15 minutes or less.
Other cooling methods. If you’re on the go, grab a cooler bag that holds two to four bottles. And at home, pour a glass of wine and put it in the refrigerator – it will take much less time than for a whole bottle.
Reusable ice cube molds are also great for a single glass – but once they’re warmed up, you’ll need to chill them again. Of course, you can also purchase several to chill more than one glass.
What can not be done?
Unlike a thin cold mug, a chilled glass cannot lower the temperature of your wine. When ice cubes cool the drink, they also dilute the taste. It’s not bad if you want something like a wine cocktail. And finally, on the Internet, they suggest pouring wine into a plastic bag and dipping it in ice water. Of course, you can cool it down in a couple of minutes, but these are already too desperate measures.
Why wine is chilled and where is the best place to chill it
The impression of the meal largely depends on the correct presentation of wine. In this case, the main thing is the right temperature of the drink. It is customary to pour each variety into glasses chilled to a certain value so that it reveals its tastes and aromas in the best possible way.
Most labels have appropriate recommendations.
- Optimal serving temperature for red wines – 16-18 0 C.
- White varieties are best served chilled – 10-12 0 C.
- Fruity rose or sparkling – at 6-8 0 C.
Often white varieties cool a little more than they should. Especially often this picture is observed when using not the most noble varieties. But with red wines containing tannins, it is better not to experiment. With excessive cooling, these substances are lost, which entails not only a change in the taste of the drink, but also the quality of its compatibility with food.
Another common technique is to give the wine a temperature of 2-3 degrees below the recommended temperature before serving. Just on this value, it will have time to heat up in the time between removal from the refrigerator and the moment of use.
There are a number of methods for cooling wine – fast and slow.
Wrapping the vessel in a wet towel
The cooling process is based on the evaporation of the water contained in the fabric. But the technique does not always work. In a conventional freezer without active air circulation, the bottle will be isolated from the external environment, the cooling process will be rather slow. The drink will cool faster if the vessel is simply placed in the freezer without a towel.
Cooling in horizontal position
It is believed that it is more correct to keep the bottles horizontally, not only during storage, but also during cooling. The cooling time is reduced by about half. But this is true for ideal environmental conditions. In reality, the process is influenced by a lot of additional factors, so in a conventional kitchen, the difference in cooling speed is hardly noticeable.
Cold objects in a glass
To lower the temperature of the drink, pre-frozen grapes, ice cubes, stones, etc. are thrown into it. From a technical point of view, the method is working, but requires additional costs. In addition to the cost of the wine itself, you will have to spend money financially on the cooling items themselves, as well as wait 2-3 hours to freeze them. This is much longer than cooling the vessel with wine directly.
One of the oldest and most famous ways. Water is a good conductor of heat, so the method helps. But we must understand that most often the bottle is only partially immersed in ice, and the upper part does not have time to reach the optimum temperature before serving. In the first glasses, the wine will be warm. For the full effect, you need to look for a bucket in which the bottle fits completely.
The best way to cool wine is to store it in the cellar. But in the absence of such, it is worth resorting to wine cabinets. This is a modern method for bringing wine to the optimum temperature. Most true wine connoisseurs have these devices.