Log In / Join Now

Ask Dr. Vinny

Do you have a question for Dr. Vinny? Ask it here...

Dear Dr. Vinny,

Can Champagne be stored in the refrigerator indefinitely?

—Marshall M., Carlsbad, Calif.

Dear Marshall,

Despite what some members of my family believe, nothing lasts forever in a refrigerator, and definitely not potato salad. Refrigeration can slow bacterial growth in food, but over time, even refrigerated food will deteriorate and taste, smell or feel funny.

When it comes to wine, food refrigerators are OK—but not ideal—places to store wine short-term. I store whites, opened bottles of wine and bottles of bubbly there, but never for more than a week or two. Think about it this way: Wine storage is ideally around 55° F with about 60 percent relative humidity. Refrigerators are usually around 35° F, with much lower humidity, the drier environment to inhibit bacterial growth. That drying air can tempt corks into contracting, and prematurely aging your wine.

That’s not to say that every wine is doomed if it’s stored in a fridge, but I’d recommend finding a cool, dark part of your house to store your wine in, or invest in some sort of wine cooler that will have more ideal temperatures and humidity. Leave the refrigerator for the potato salad.

—Dr. Vinny

Wine Basics

We break down the basics—how to taste, serve, store and more. Plus:
» Maps of major wine regions
» Grape variety characteristics

How-to Videos

Learn to taste wine like a pro, pull a cork with flair, get great wine service in a restaurant and more

Wine Spectator School: All courses are FREE for WineSpectator.com Members

Learn from the experts and get the most out of each sip. Take one of our online courses or take them all—from the ABCs of Tasting to in-depth seminars on Food Pairing, California Cabernet, Bordeaux, Tuscany, Sensory Evaluation and more.

Browse our course catalog
Check out the professional wine sales and service courses
Learn Wine Forum: Got questions? Get answers

WineRatings+ app: Download now for 340,000+ ratings.