How to Store Wine in a Wine Refrigerator

by Catherine Amo
Published April 29, 2010 | Updated May 18, 2015

Wine refrigerators, also known as wine coolers, are made to chill wine to the appropriate temperature. Regular refrigerators are subject to constant activity, which causes the temperature to fluctuate. This is not appropriate for wine, which must be stored at a constant temperature. While wine cellars are the best option for storing wine and are ideal for those with an extensive wine collection, wine coolers are affordable and adequate for those with a small collection of wines.

Proper Wine Storage:

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  • In a Single-Zone Refrigerator

    If you plan to use a single-zone refrigerator for your various red and white wines, a temperature of 54 degrees Fahrenheit is best. Although each version has a more ideal temperature setting, 54 degrees Fahrenheit will not adversely affect the wine and will slow down the aging process.

  • In a Dual-Zone Refrigerator

    Dual-zone wine refrigerators can store two types of wine at two different temperatures. Set one compartment at a temperature between 50 and 65 degrees Fahrenheit for red wine and set the other between 45 and 50 degrees Fahrenheit for white wine. Store red wines for up to ten years and white wines for up to three years.

  • Adjust the Temperature Gradually, When Necessary

    Fluctuation in temperature in your wine cooler can cause premature aging in the wine. A sudden increase in the temperature of the refrigerator can force the wine through the cork, while a sudden decrease can force air into the bottle.

  • Store Opened Bottles of White Wine

    Replace the cork tightly and put it back into your wine refrigerator. The wine refrigerator can preserve the wine up to five days. Opened bottles of red wine do not need to be refrigerated but should be consumed within two days.

  • Keep the Refrigerator Closed

    Ensure that the doors and drawers of the refrigerator are closed and airtight. If not, the temperature in the refrigerator will be higher than what is ideal for your wines.

  • Avoid Oxidization

    Always store corked wine bottles on their sides to keep the corks moist. The wine racks in wine refrigerators are designed to store wine bottles on their sides. If the bottles are left standing, the corks will dry out and let air in, spoiling the wine.

  • Avoid Moving the Bottles

    Constant motion affects the aging process. If you have a fairly large collection of wine, create a system that will help you locate what you need easily without having to move the bottles.

  • Avoid Vibration

    Keep your wine refrigerator in an area free from vibration. Vibration agitates the wine and will affect the quality of the wine.