Wine Talk

Snooth User: tarheelguice

Cellars vs. Fridges(and Storage in general)

Posted by tarheelguice, Mar 14, 2010.

Hey, its me again, one of the newer kids on the block(I'll be asking a lot of questions for a while, until I have enough knowledge to share with others).  I know nothing of what you are supposed to do with White Wines vs Red Wines with storage before opening the bottle, while serving, or afterwards.

Is there a difference of what you are supposed to do with White Wines vs Red Wines? Is one better chilled while serving it? And then of course, the main question, What benefit is there to having a cellar over just using your standard refrigerator?


Reply by zufrieden, Mar 14, 2010.

Chilling before serving is usual for white wine, but the temperature (amount of cooling) will depend on the wine itself.  You can obtain a serving temperature range from a handbook or the internet for pretty much any wine. Note that some reds (Gamay in particular) should be chilled even more.

But even full-bodied reds should be chilled slightly if the ambient temperature is high - as in summer or the tropics.  Even the best reds are best at a bit below room temperature - maybe 16-17 degrees Celsius (63-65 degrees Fahrenheit). But these are only very general rules; it is best to obtain a chart which discusses the finer points of serving and serving temperatures.

As for storage, a wine fridge or cellar is fine as long as you try to keep the temperature fairly stable.  Wines for storage can be placed together (red and white) notwithstanding some differences in aging at various cellar temperatures.  Much depends on how long you want to keep your wines.  I keep my wines for anywhere between a few days to more than 10 years.  Luckily, I have a basement room that keeps temperatures between 12 and 16 degrees Celsius at all times without refrigeration.  However, these ranges are not necessarily ideal; it all depends on what you want to store and for how long.  The key is not to subject the wines to too much temperature variation.

Although this topic of cellaring has been discussed before, it might be worth going into more technical detail.  I'm fairly confident more snooth members will come forward with their ideas and suggestions.

Reply by VegasOenophile, Mar 15, 2010.

I'd say a fridge might be a second option next to a "wine cellar" or cabinet as those are typically made to control or work to eliminate vibration as much as possible and also control humidity.  Whatever really works so far as your storage option obeys the general rules of dark, quiet, vibration free, with a consistent cool temperature.  Cheers!

Reply by GregT, Mar 15, 2010.

A fridge is drier than what is considered ideal.  But if you've got a capsule on the bottle I just don't see that as an issue.  If it is, you can just put a plastic wrap over the top of the bottle.  And a fridge is cold, so that's very good.  The main problem with the fridge is that you're moving the wine around all the time when you hunt for your milk or cheese or try to stick the leftover turkey in there, and you need the fridge space, so maybe you don't want to fill it up with wine and leave that for 20 years.

There is some thought that the fridge vibrates too much but I'm really skeptical about that too.  If the fridge is filled with milk, juice, watermelon, etc., it's pretty heavy and I just don't see the vibration as an issue.  Moreover, I don't know of a single study that has ever been done in which wine was kept in a fridge and compared to wine kept outside of a fridge for 10 years or more.  So I think it's mostly tradition because back in the day when they were building wine cellars, they didn't have any other refrigeration.

I've kept wine in the fridge for a few years with no problems. I don't think they're that bad if you plan to drink the wine in a few months or so and they're certainly better than a closet.

The idea is that you have a lot of chemical reactions taking place as the wine ages and temperature affects the rate of reaction, so keeping a wine at 70F vs 55F makes a huge difference in both the aging of the wine and the quality of that aging.  Spoilage organisms that are present in just about any wine will multiply much faster at higher temps and that's not a good thing.  Keeping them dormant while allowing the chemical reactions to proceed is one reason for keeping the wine colder.

Reply by amour, Mar 24, 2010.

The traditional cold and damp cellar under the ground floor (of English and Scottish country houses) is  ideal for wine storage.....I had that in Taunton, England and fine it was!

Reply by amour, Mar 24, 2010.

But on the other hand, an above ground, temperature controlled/ humidity controlled wine storage unit/cellar is ideal to protect and preserve wine.


Reply by penguinoid, Mar 25, 2010.

That's interesting. I would have assumed that a reasonably cool cupboard would have been much better than a standard fridge to store wine longer term. Not sure why, other than maybe fridges being quite dry -- as noted above, probably not a big problem.

Finding space in the fridge is the next (insurmountable?) problem for most people, then, I guess.

Reply by amour, Mar 25, 2010.

Please read the thread    BUILDING MY UNDERGROUND CELLAR (Degrandcru)

Many of our points there are relevant here!



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