Does Wine Need to Be Refrigerated?

By Basil Carter

Wine can be a confusing subject if you're not a connoisseur or even a casual drinker. Here's what you need to know about how to store wine to preserve its qualities.

Champagne flutes
credit: Marc Debnam/Photodisc/Getty Images
Uncorked sparkling wine and glasses

Unopened Wine

An unopened wine bottle should be stored on its side in a cool, dry place or in a special wine refrigerator. It should not be refrigerated in a standard kitchen refrigerator, which is too cold for long-term wine storage.

Opened White Wine

Opened white wine is best kept in the refrigerator. It should be re-corked, preferably with a device that removes excess air from the bottle. Though the flavor starts to deteriorate slightly after only one or two days, white wines usually remain drinkable for up to six days.

Opened Red Wine

Opened red wine is best kept at room temperature. If a red wine is refrigerated, it must be brought to room temperature again for drinking. These fluctuations damage the flavor, so it's best to keep opened red wine corked and stored in a cool, dry place.

Opened Sparkling Wine

The best way to keep an opened bottle of sparkling wine is to use a champagne stopper. These small devices re-pressurize the bottle and keep the wine fresh in the refrigerator for up to one week.

Longer-Term Storage of Opened Bottles

If you aren't planning to finish drinking an opened bottle soon, store it in the refrigerator for up to a few months and use it for cooking.