ask dr. vinny

Hello there! I'm Dr. Vinifera, or "Vinny" for short. Ask me your toughest wine questions, from the technical aspects of winemaking to the fine points of etiquette. I hope you find my answers educational and even amusing. Looking for a particular answer? Check my archive and my FAQs. You can also follow me on Twitter: @AskDrVinny.

Dear Dr. Vinny,

I have an unopened bottle of Riesling that has been refrigerated for several weeks. I won't open it until Christmas. Should I remove it from the fridge for now, and then chill it again right before serving? Hope I didn't ruin it!

—Pam, Green, Ohio

Dear Pam,

I think your bottle of wine will be fine. Overall, I recommend avoiding temperature fluctuations when it comes to storing wine for any period of time. Repeated temperature swings can prematurely age a wine. Think about it this way: As a bottle of wine heats up or cools down, the glass of the bottle can’t expand or contract, but the cork can, and that can draw air into the bottle. Even if a bottle is sealed with a twist-off, heat can speed up any changes in a bottle of wine.

I’ve taken bottles in and out of refrigerators or coolers now and again and they are fine. Even coolers and cellars experience some temperature fluctuation, though only a few degrees. But if you were to continuously take a bottle in and out of a fridge, and if your refrigerator is particularly cold and the room really hot, that might hurt your wine.

—Dr. Vinny

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