If you’re a wine enthusiast, finding room for every beloved bottle can be hard – even if you have a wine fridge (or a deluxe wine cellar). And let’s be honest, most of us just have a wine rack or our kitchen counter. Which means if you’re going on vacation this summer, but you’ve just bought (or been gifted) a particularly great bottle of wine, you might find yourself in a bit of conundrum. Where should you store this awesome wine until you get back from your travels?
Naturally – especially in this heat – some of us might turn to our fridges. After all, the fridge keeps your wine at a cool, steady temperature, preventing heat temperature fluctuations that are generally seen as bad for the bottle. These fluctuations can loosen the cork and allow oxidation, or just mess up the overall chemistry of the wine. However, your fridge can also cause cold condensation to form on a bottle, which can leave you with a moldy cork (and that sounds about as appealing as winery waste water). So, if you’re going on vacation this summer for a week or two – meaning the A/C in your home will be off which could cause your precious wine to stew – is it ok to leave that bottle chilling in the fridge?
The answer is yes. While we certainly wouldn’t recommend freezing the wine, keeping it at a crisp temperature for a short period of time is okay. A fridge often gets much cooler than a typical wine fridge, which means you’re usually chilling the bottle at a lower temperature than would normally be recommended, but for a few weeks, or even months, that’s totally fine. Just don’t leave a bottle in there that you want to open in a few years.
In addition to the colder than normal temperature, the frequent opening and closing of the refrigerator door can create that nasty condensation we discussed earlier, and condensation means a damp cork, which could turn to mold, which is no good for the wine. But this would take several months to develop – at the very least and we think you’ll probably be popping that bottle shortly after you return home.
To store your bottle properly before you leave lay the wine on its side, which will allow the wine to seep into the cork and expand, preventing oxidation. Try and place the wine on one of your fridge’s middle racks, which are usually the positions that aren’t too cold or warm, allowing for the most constant temperature control.
One tip: When you return from your vacation, only take the wine out of the fridge if you plan to drink it. Don’t take it out, then put it back in a few weeks later. This extreme temperature oscillation will rob your wine of aromas and flavors. So, drink up. That’s definitely the best advice you’ll get all summer long.