By Gina Ragusa

A glass of wine is refreshing with a nice meal; however, what do you do once you've uncorked that bottle? Wine doesn't immediately go bad in the fridge, but once you've popped the cork, oxidation hits the wine and softens the flavors and aroma. Oxidation is when oxygen interacts with substance molecules in the wine, changing the flavors and chemical makeup from its original compound. Eventually, all good wine will go bad, but time is on your side.


Which Wine in the Fridge


White and sparkling (champagne) wine is vulnerable to light and heat and should be stored in a cool area such as the refrigerator. Red wine should never be chilled; however you can preserve it in the fridge after it's been opened. Any wine should not be stored at temperatures above 55 degrees Fahrenheit or below 40 degrees.

Storing Unopened Wine


Once you refrigerate a closed bottle of wine, you prevent it from aging properly. Store unopened white wine in the refrigerator to chill it before drinking. Never store unopened red wine in the refrigerator because red wine is typically served at room temperature. Store wine sideways to keep air from entering through the cork, which prevents air from entering into the bottle.

The experts at The Food Network say that when you store unopened red or white wine, keep it in temperatures no higher than 58 degrees, away from light, vibrations and odors to preserve the wine's natural state.

Storing Opened Wine


Practice the three-day rule with opened wine. Wine, like milk and fruit, goes bad once it's exposed to air. Wine typically goes bad after three days. Although you can purchase wine stopper inserts that remove the air from the bottle, you are better off drinking it within the next few days.

According to Wine Spectator columnist Dr. Vinny (find him at, once you pull the cork, oxidation begins. He says that some wines initially improve from being exposed to air but after a day or two, will fade and the freshness diminishes.

Both red and white wines benefit from refrigerator storage once they've been opened. Dr. Vinny says that wines that have a higher acid content such as crisp whites or dessert wines last a little longer.

The Food Network experts say to keep your refrigerator temperature consistent, about 15 degrees Fahrenheit. Also, store and maintain your opened bottle of wine much like you do your unopened bottle. Keep it away from light, vibrations, odors and store it sideways with the cork tightly jammed into the top of the bottle.