If you’re anything like us, you don’t have a ton of space in your apartment, and that means, whether you store your bottles in a wine fridge — which everyone should own, by the way — or your real fridge, space is at a premium. And when space is at a premium, you usually wind up doing a ton of shuffling in order to make room. But is it okay to take an already chilled bottle out of the fridge in order to make room for something new you want to chill, only to put it back in the fridge after it has warmed up to room temperature? Won’t it get ruined?!
This assumption seems to stem primarily from a similar beer rule that states moving beer from cool spaces to hot spaces results in it skunking. Everyone at some point has probably had this rule recited to them with the claim being if you let the beer rise to room temperature after cooling it, only to re-cool it once it’s warm, you’re in for a pretty gross beer when you finally decide to pop the top.
This is a myth. Beer doesn’t skunk due to these fluctuations, but instead skunks if the glass it’s held in lets in too much UV light, which is why you really want to buy your beer in brown bottles and cans. Sure, if you heat a beer up to too hot a temperature, you’ll probably cook and destroy it, but that destruction has nothing to do with moving it in and out of a cooler.
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But we’re not here to talk about beer; we’re here to talk about wine. And just as with beer, it’s perfectly fine to move your vino out of the fridge for a bit and put it back once you have more room, as long as you don’t do it with the same bottle too many times. Repeated temperature fluctuation is never good for any beverage, especially one as sensitive as wine can be, but as long as you aren’t cooling the wine down too much, or taking it out of the fridge and placing it in a hot closet or garage, it should be fine when you finally get around to popping the cork. Temperature extremes are what destroy a wine, and for that matter beer, too, not moving it in and out of a fridge.