Will my wines get too cold in the garage?

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Dear Dr. Vinny,

I need to store my wine in the garage, and I'm concerned about cold weather. How cold is too cold for wine?

—Penny, Pa.

Dear Penny,

The good news is that cold wine is less likely to suffer than hot wine. The ideal storage conditions for wine include a temperature of about 55° F. If the wine falls below that temperature (without freezing), you're not in danger of causing any harm, but that will slow down the aging process, which can make it harder to predict how the wine will evolve with age. However, wine can freeze at 15° to 20° F, and if that happens, the cork can be pushed out by the expanding frozen liquid, or the bottle can crack.

It's also important to remember that air temperature doesn't necessarily reflect the temperature of the liquid in the bottle. And keep an eye on the temperature during the summer months as well—wine starts to age prematurely at temperatures above 70° F, and above 80° F you start to risk heat damage. If building a dream cellar isn't in your plans, you might want to look into insulating your garage, which will mediate those highs and lows.

—Dr. Vinny

Ask Dr. Vinny Aging Wine Storage

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