You may have heard that storing your wine in the fridge is the best way forward. However, this isn’t always the case - although wine may remain fresh for longer in a fridge, it can destroy the wine's natural flavours.
Unopened white wine is sure to last much longer than opened wine, but why? And how do you best store white wine in a fridge? Keep reading to learn how long white wine can be kept in the fridge both opened and unopened. We’ve also included some storage tips to help your wine last longer in the fridge.
How long the opened white wine can last in the fridge often depends on the type of wine. White wines with a fuller body such as Muscat or oaked Chardonnay may oxidise faster than lighter wines.
This is because they are typically exposed to more oxygen while ageing before bottling. Their flavour profiles are also more complex, so need steady storage conditions in order to taste as good as they should. Opened full-bodied whites can last between three and five days in the fridge after opening, but can stay fresher for longer if you use a vacuum-sealed cork.
Lighter whites can also last for around the same amount of time in a fridge upon opening. However, when properly sealed, they can last for around a week in the fridge. Despite being fresh, you may notice slight changes in the flavour of the wine.
This is because despite being sealed, the wine has been exposed to oxygen, which can affect the flavour and crispness of the wine. Oxidation is the process of oxygen being exposed to the wine and triggering chemical reactions. These reactions convert alcohol into acetaldehyde, changing the colours, aromas, and flavours of the wine.
The good news is that unopened white wine lasts much longer than opened white wine, as it hasn’t been exposed to oxygen. White wine tends to have a shorter shelf life than red wine, but it all depends on the type of wine. It’s always recommended to check the best by date on the bottle of wine so you can get an indication as to how long the wine will last.
Regardless of whether the white wine is light or full-bodied, it can last for years past the best by date when kept in the fridge. However, you may not need to store your wine in the fridge. There are numerous factors to consider when storing your wine - the main being temperature, UV light, humidity, and vibrations.
Regular fridges don’t always offer the best storage solutions for wine, and can actually have a negative effect on your white wine. Regular fridges don’t usually offer the best humidity levels, which is between 55% and 75%. This can damage the cork and your bottle, putting your wine at risk of oxidation - as well as cause condensation which can damage the labels of your wine. It may be best to store your unopened white wine in a cool and dark space such as the back of your kitchen cupboard.
However, it’s always best to store your wine in a wine cabinet, wine cooler, or wine cellar. Wine coolers are great at protecting your wine from UV light, which can speed up the ageing process and result in a bitter, unpleasant-tasting wine.
White wine is especially at risk from UV damage as most white wines are stored in clear bottles which offer little to no protection, as opposed to red wine which tends to be stored in UV-protective green bottles.
Sparkling wines can lose their sparkle pretty quickly upon opening. However, they can last for years after the expiration date when left unopened. Once you pop the cork on sparkling wine, extra care needs to be taken in order for the wine to retain its signature fizz.
However, certain sparkling wines (for example, cava or champagne) may last longer as they have more bubbles when bottled. This means they can last for around three days if you use a wine stopper as soon as possible and then place it in the fridge. Prosecco, on the other hand, is used using the tank method, and will likely fizzle out faster than champagne.
Thankfully, you don’t have to throw out your bottle of white wine after opening it. We’ve all been there - you’ve had a couple of glasses and you’re not sure what to do with the rest of the bottle, and you certainly don’t want to throw it away. First of all, you need to consider whether the wine has a shelf life, or whether it ages over time. If you plan on storing your wine in a regular refrigerator after opening, avoid storing it in there for over a week.
Contrary to popular belief, regular fridges aren’t the best place for your wine. However, wine fridges are - they consider all of the important storage factors and ensure your wine remains fresh for longer.
When storing your wine after opening, be sure to store it vertically. This will prevent any spillages, as well as allow sediment to settle at the bottom. However, unopened wine should always be stored vertically to keep the cork moist, and to prevent oxygen from entering the bottle.
Storing your wine in a regular fridge can also result in other unpleasant flavours. After all, you don’t want your wine to taste like onions, sprouts, or whatever food you have kept in your fridge, do you? Regular fridges can also affect the pressure of white wine, quickly killing the flavour even after a couple of days. We recommend storing your white wine in a wine fridge standing upward upon opening.
Wine stoppers and vacuum preserver corks are great at protecting your opened wine from oxidising. This means that you can store your wine for at least a week, meaning you no longer have to deal with unpleasant flavours or even worse, throw your leftover wine away.