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Dear Dr. Vinny,
Once chilled, must a red and/or white wine stay chilled?
—D.S., Mechanicsburg, Pa.
There are a few different angles to this question. If you’re talking about storing a wine and keeping it chilled, then, yes, it’s best to keep a stored wine at a constant temperature for as long as you can.
If you’re asking about serving a chilled wine, a chilled wine served at room temperature will probably warm up. But how quickly (and how much of an issue this is) will depend on a couple of things. If I’m popping open a bottle, serving it to multiple people and emptying the bottle in the process, I don’t worry about it. But if I’m opening a bottle and only serving a couple of glasses, I might try to keep the rest of the bottle chilled—either on ice or in the refrigerator—until it’s ready to be served.
If you put a wine in the fridge and chill it down, is it OK to take it out and let it warm up again, then chill it again later? Sure. It may not be ideal, but it’s not likely to do much harm.
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