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Why You Shouldn’t Store Closed Bottles of Wine in the Fridge

Wine is notoriously finicky when it comes to storage, and for those of us without lavish wine cellars, options for where to properly stash the bottles are few and far between. Most professionals will recommend storing your bottles in a cool, dry place. That means the refrigerator should be safe, right?

Well, the answer isn’t so straightforward. To find out whether or not using your fridge as extra wine storage is a faux pas, VinePair tapped William Pye, a sommelier at Prospect in San Francisco.

Pye suggests that for short-term scenarios, there’s nothing wrong with keeping some bottles in the fridge, so it’s OK to cool down some Sauvignon Blanc or Champagne to have on hand for an impromptu glass or celebration. But when it comes to stashing prized wines that you plan on aging or saving for a far-off event, it’s best to avoid keeping them next to your stinky cheese and condiments, as the conditions in the average refrigerator can actually be detrimental to the bottles.

“After a while, the primary risk becomes the cork drying out from the lower humidity, thus breaking the seal,” Pye says. “Additionally, light and UV exposure can change a wine’s chemical makeup and vibration from the motor which can stir sediments and create subtle but harmful reactions that detract from desirable flavors.” While wine can survive these conditions for short periods, constant exposure to UV light, cold, dry air, and subtle vibrations can damage the bottles, taking away their contents’ vibrant characteristics.

But wait — then why do we use wine refrigerators? Well, because they’re intentionally designed to avoid these problems.

“Wine refrigerators allow for precise temperature and humidity control, as well as a dark environment,” Pye says. That’s also why these fridges are designed to house their bottles horizontally: Any wine stored vertically runs the risk of cork damage (especially when shelved for years at a time) since the wine needs to be in constant contact with the cork to keep it from drying out.

So, the next time you bring a special bottle of Chianti back from a trip to Italy or snag a birth-year wine you want to save for a monumental occasion, it’s best to keep that bottle somewhere safe, far away from your ketchup and cuts of bologna.

The article Why You Shouldn’t Store Closed Bottles of Wine in the Fridge appeared first on VinePair.

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