Can storing wine in the refrigerator cause "bottle shock"?

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Dear Dr. Vinny,

I have some white and red wines stored in the fridge (mistake?) because I was worried they would go bad stored at room temperature. When I’m ready to drink the red, what should I do to avoid bottle shock?

—Trevor, U.S.

Dear Trevor,

It’s not a mistake to put a bottle of wine in the fridge, but I don’t recommend it for long-term storage. Refrigerators have very low humidity to inhibit bacterial growth. That low humidity can dry out a cork and cause premature aging. Depending on how warm your room temperature is and how much fluctuation there can be, storing wine in your fridge for a couple of months might be the best call between the two, so you shouldn’t worry about that.

And you shouldn’t be concerned at all about “bottle shock” in this scenario. Bottle shock is an anecdotal phenomenon for wines that have just been bottled, or have traveled, when wines just seem a little disjointed and flat for a while. (Most folks think it only takes a few days to a few weeks for a bottle at rest to recover from “shock.”) I think your only concern for taking the wine out of the fridge is to make sure to get it up to serving temperature: Refrigerators are pretty cold, and a wine that’s too cold can seem inexpressive. I like my reds around 60° to 65° F, a little cooler than room temperature.

—Dr. Vinny

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