Putting wine in the fridge – ask Decanter

Do temperature changes have an adverse effect on wine? And can you take wine in and out of the fridge? Paolo Basso gives Decanter an answer.

Ask Decanter: Putting wine in the fridge

John McGlynn, from Edinburgh, asks: On occasion, I put a bottle of wine (including sparking and fortifieds) in the fridge with the intention of drinking it, leaving it there for up to a month or more before changing my mind and putting it back in my cellar. Would these temperature changes have an adverse effect on the wine, given that you always read about consistent storing temperature being vital?

Paolo Basso, for Decanter, replies: Like any food product, exposure to cold will slow or stop the ripening process. If you do this only once to a young and robust wine, it will generally resume its ageing process without consequence after a period in the fridge, but a more mature wine, which is less resistant to shock, may suffer some disruption to its ageing process. Wine is like us: in youth, we will recover more easily after an accident; when we are older, recovery will be more difficult. Of course, it is better not to have the accident in the first place.

Paolo Basso was named Best Sommelier in the World in 2013.

At the Decanter Fine Wine Encounter in November 2014, Louis Roederer’s chef de cave and executive vice-president, Jean-Baptiste Lécaillon, told guests that they should ‘put Champagne in the fridge 48 hours before drinking it,’ if possible.