Whether you’re a wine drinker or not, you’ve probably heard of the idea that if a beverage goes from warm to cold to warm again it will go bad. This idea has been connected to beer, wine, soda, and more over the years, but is this actually true?
When most people think of drastic temperature shifts making a beverage go bad, it’s usually related to beer, but can chilled wine go bad if you let it get warm?
Let’s take a look!
Before we dive into the idea of temperature fluctuations impacting wine, let’s go back to the idea that beer will get skunky and taste bad if taken out of the fridge, warmed up, and then cooled down again.
This is a myth.
The temperature itself is not what is causing your beer to go skunky, but rather the UV light that the liquid is absorbing through the bottle. This is why canned beer tends to last longer when stored and it’s also why beer bottles are brown. The brown glass helps to prevent the UV light from penetrating the bottle into the liquid, thus causing the beer to go bad.
But obviously were here to talk about wine and not beer, but there are some similarities in regards to wine going bad from light.
Wine will start to go bad if exposed to UV light for long periods of time, just like beer. This is why it’s important to store your wine in a dark place away from windows if you don’t intend on drinking it right away. You don’t typically see a wine cellar with a bunch of windows in it, and they are usually in the basement where it’s cool and dark.
Red wine bottles are usually a darker color which helps filter out some of the UV light (just like the brown beer bottles), but not all wines use dark bottles. A lot of white wines use clear bottles, but you can sometimes find them using bottles with a greenish tint, which also helps block out UV light.
If you’re worried about light affecting your wine, just be sure to store them away from direct sunlight and your wine will taste great when you decide to open it.
So we know light affects a wine’s flavor, but what about fluctuations in temperature from the fridge to the counter, or outside?
Will Temperature Changes Make My Wine Go Bad?
We’re not sure where this idea came from, but in most cases, normal temperature fluctuations will not cause your wine to go bad immediately.
When we’re talking about “normal temperature fluctuations” we’re referring to things like, taking a chilled bottle of wine out of the fridge, leaving it on the counter until it’s become room temperature, and then placing it back into the fridge. This will not affect how your wine tastes when done a few times.
If you are continuously doing this with a bottle of wine, then you may start to notice some differences in the taste that you may not notice with a freshly opened bottle from the fridge, but in most cases this type of temperature change is not going to affect the taste of your wine.
However, drastic temperature changes can make your wine start to taste bad. For example, leaving a bottle of wine outside on a hot summer day and then placing it into your fridge would be bad. The hot temperatures from being outside can cause the wine to go bad.
Large temperature swings can also cause your wine to taste bad. Going from your fridge, which is typically set to be around 37 degrees Fahrenheit, and then warming the bottle up in the sun to over 100 degrees, will most certainly cause your wine to taste a little off.
In general, we assume most people are moving wine that’s been in the fridge for a while, and has gone unopened, to a storage area so that they can fit more items in their fridge (or something along those lines). Moving that bottle from the fridge to your basement, or to your wine shelf, after the wine is already chilled, is not going to affect the taste of the wine once you decide to chill it again.
Even if you do that a couple times, you’re most likely not going to affect the wine that drastically to the point where you’d notice any issues with the flavor. Going from cool storage to room temperature is not too drastic of a temperature swing to cause the wine to go bad.
We do advise that you store your wine properly and try not to switch between hot and cold too often though. Keeping your wine stored in the right conditions and in the right orientation will help preserve the wine for as long as possible. But if you have to take that one wine bottle out of the wine fridge to make room for something, it’s not going to go bad once you decide to chill it again.