Although we're keen on wine fridges at Coolersomm our wine fridges spring into action while the cork is still in the bottle, however, once you've opened your wine, a regular fridge will keep wine drinking well for a few days as long as the wine is sealed with a cork or screwcap, but just how long can you keep wine in the fridge before it starts to spoil? This depends on a range of factors including;
What type of wine are your trying to keep fresh?
White wines are typically the best candidates for fridge storage due to their higher acidity and lower tannin content. When you refrigerate a white wine, you slow down the aging process, preserving its freshness and flavour. The types of white wines that can last the longest in the fridge include:
a. Sauvignon Blanc: Known for its vibrant acidity and fresh, crisp flavours, Sauvignon Blanc can maintain its quality for several days in the fridge.
b. Chardonnay: Chardonnay's moderate acidity and diverse flavour profile allow it to remain enjoyable for a few days in the refrigerator.
c. Riesling: The high acidity in Riesling wines makes them suitable for fridge storage, and they can retain their freshness for up to a week or more.
Red wines are rarely kept in the fridge as they tend to become sour and tart, however lighter reds like frappato or Beaujolais can be stored in the fridge and then brought up to serving temperature and will last as long as whites.
Sparkling wines, such as Champagne and Prosecco, are also great candidates for fridge storage due to their effervescence. A tightly sealed stopper will help keep the bubbles intact, allowing these wines to last a bit longer in the fridge than their still counterparts.
Rosé wines, with their bright and refreshing flavours, tend to be more durable in the fridge compared to some reds. They can maintain their taste for a few days to a week, making them a great option for short-term storage.
Fortified wines like Sherry and Port are known for their longevity. These wines have a higher alcohol content and are more stable, making them suitable for extended fridge storage. While they may not need refrigeration as urgently as white wines, they can last for weeks or even months if stored properly.
Boxed wines, often regarded as budget-friendly options, have a significant advantage in terms of shelf life. The bag-in-box packaging minimizes air contact, which helps to preserve the wine's freshness and allows it to last for several weeks in the fridge.
Organic and Biodynamic Wines
Wines produced using organic and biodynamic farming practices are often lower in sulfites, preservatives, and additives. This can make them more sensitive to oxidation, which means they might benefit from fridge storage, especially if they lack traditional preservatives.
How long was the wine and exposed to the air before you put it in the fridge?
If the wine was open for several days and left without closure and then put into the fridge it will last far less time than a wine immediately put under Coravin and put into the fridge due to the harmful process of oxygenation on wine.
Negative Effects of Uncontrolled Oxidation
a. Premature Aging: In most cases, uncontrolled oxidation in wine is undesirable. When wine is exposed to excessive oxygen, it can lead to premature aging. This often results in a loss of fruitiness, the development of off-putting aromas, and a flat, unbalanced taste. The wine may lose its varietal character and the vibrancy that makes it enjoyable.
b. Undesirable Aromas: Oxidized wine can develop undesirable aromas, often described as smelling like sherry, vinegar, or wet cardboard. These off-putting odors are signs that the wine has been negatively impacted by oxidation.
c. Color Changes: White wines exposed to oxygen can turn darker and develop brownish or amber hues. Red wines may lose their vibrant, youthful red colors and take on a more brownish tint.
d. Tannin Softening: Excessive oxidation can lead to the breakdown of tannins, which are responsible for the structure and mouthfeel of the wine. While controlled oxidation can soften tannins in aged wines, uncontrolled oxidation can lead to a wine feeling flabby and lacking structure.
e. Loss of Freshness: One of the most common effects of oxidation is the loss of a wine's freshness. This is particularly problematic for white wines and lighter reds that rely on their vibrant fruit and floral notes.
How to prevent uncontrolled oxidation:
To prevent uncontrolled oxidation and preserve the quality of your wine, follow these tips:
Seal the bottle properly with a cork or wine stopper to limit oxygen exposure.
Store opened bottles in a cool, dark place with a temperature range that suits the wine type (e.g., refrigerate white wine).
Use a wine preservation system, such as inert gas, to displace oxygen from an opened bottle.
Finish opened bottles within a few days to a week, depending on the type of wine and how it has been stored.
In summary, while oxidation plays a crucial role in wine aging for certain styles, it can have negative consequences when it occurs in an uncontrolled manner. Proper storage and handling of wine can help preserve its freshness and protect it from the undesirable effects of oxidation.
How different wine closures impact their longevity in the fridge?
If you simply place the cork back into the wine immediately and put it in the fridge the wine will last for a few days before the quality starts to decline.
- Screwcap or Cork - 3-5 days
- Vac-u-vin - 2-3 weeks
- Coravin - 3 months or more
Vacuum pump wine preservation systems like the Vac-u-vin work by removing air from the opened bottle and creating a vacuum seal. These systems typically consist of a stopper that fits snugly into the bottle neck and a handheld pump that extracts air. The reduced air exposure helps slow down the oxidation process.
Inert gas wine preservation systems like the Coravin use gases like argon, nitrogen, or a combination of both to displace the oxygen in the wine bottle. These gases are denser than air and form a protective layer on top of the wine, preventing oxidation. These systems are easy to use and maintain the wine's original taste and aroma.
How cold is the fridge the wine is in?
If your fridge is extremely cold (below 2c) then putting the wine into the fridge may end up doing more harm than good as freezing wine causes more damage than leaving it at room temperature.
Is the wine upright or laid down?
If you have a space the best option is to leave your wine stood up in the fridge.
What's the size of the bottle?
The smaller the air to wine ratio, the longer the wine will preserve, so, in many cases, depending how much wine has left the bottle, smaller bottles will last longer than larger bottles.
Can I drink 2 week old wine from the fridge?
The best thing to do if you want to preserve wine for as long as possible is to;
1) Re-seal the wine as quickly as you can after pouring
2) Leave as much wine in the bottle as you
3) If you have a wine preservation system or vacuum pump, use this (except Sparkling wine) and then pop into the fridge as soon as possible.
If you manage to follow these steps your opened wine could last up to three months under Coravin and three weeks with a Vac-u-Vin.