How long can I keep a wine in my kitchen refrigerator?

Ask Dr Vinny

Hello there! I'm Dr. Vinifera, but you can call me Vinny. Ask me your toughest wine questions, from the fine points of etiquette to the science of winemaking. And don't worry, I'm no wine snob—you can also ask me those "dumb questions" you're too embarrased to ask your wine geek friends! I hope you find my answers educational, empowering and even amusing. And don't forget to check out my most asked questions and my full archives for all my Q&A classics.

Dear Dr. Vinny,

What’s the longest amount of time you can keep a white wine in a kitchen refrigerator? Can you then put it back to normal cellar storage again?

—Ronna M., Natick, Mass.

Dear Ronna,

Red or white, wines aren’t going to show their best if they’re stored long-term in food refrigerators, which are too cold and too dry. But in the short term, I think they’re OK, and I usually have bottles in there for immediate consumption (including a bubbly, because I’m always in the mood to celebrate).

I think that after a couple of months in a food refrigerator, the cork might start to dry out, which could prematurely oxidize the wine, so I try to drink up before the 2-month mark. If you don’t think you’ll be getting to the wine in that period, putting it back into proper cellar conditions is definitely the way to go. Its stint in the kitchen fridge isn’t likely to do the wine lasting harm.

—Dr. Vinny

Collecting Storage Cellars Ask Dr. Vinny

More In Dr. Vinny

Why are beers aged in wine barrels? And what's a "foeder"?

Wine Spectator's expert Dr. Vinny explains why large, used wine barrels, or "foudres," have …

Sep 16, 2020

Can I recycle wine bottles that have metal or plastic capsules on the top? Is it true that some capsules contain lead?

Wine Spectator's expert Dr. Vinny offers tips for recycling wine bottles and handling older …

Sep 14, 2020

Half of a broken cork ended up in my wine bottle. Is that OK?

Wine Spectator's expert Dr. Vinny offers advice for what to do when a cork breaks.

Sep 11, 2020

Are all wine barrels toasted?

Wine Spectator's expert Dr. Vinny explains why oak barrel staves are toasted.

Sep 9, 2020

Why is “smoke taint” a problem? Don’t they clean the grapes?

Wine Spectator's expert Dr. Vinny explains how smoke taint works, why it can't be "washed …

Sep 7, 2020

How do I know if a wine will be good before I buy it?

Wine Spectator's expert Dr. Vinny offers tips for finding the wines you'll love.

Sep 4, 2020