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Dear Dr. Vinny,
Our wine refrigerator broke. Will it ruin our expensive reds if the temperature goes up to 61° F in the wine cooler from 57° F?
—Patty, Huntersville, N.C.
Definitely not. That’s a very minor shift in temperature, and that alone wouldn’t impact the quality of your wines. There’s no formula for how hot is too hot before a wine starts to exhibit “cooked” qualities, but for short-term temperature swings, the conservative low end of the danger zone generally begins in the 80s. Room temperature certainly isn’t ideal for long-term storage, and may result in wines that age a bit prematurely, but it won’t “ruin” your wine. If your prized wines are sitting at 61° F for a while until your wine fridge is fixed or replaced, they’ll be fine.
To learn more about properly cellaring wine, check out Wine Spectator’s “How to Store Wine 101.”
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