16 of Your Common Wine Questions Answered

by Kelvin Teo | Last Updated: September 21, 2021

There are many questions asked when it comes to wine — from whether you are supposed to chill them to questions regarding heat and light. With these, we’ve decided to round the commonly-asked ones and address them once and for all.

Whether you’re in the league of wine experts or are just starting out on your wine journey, we hope you will find this article useful!

Are you supposed to chill your red wine?

If you live in a warm environment, the answer is yes. Red wines should be in the range of 12°C and 19°C (53 – 66°F).

Chilling a bottle of red wine will slow down its fermentation, which can cause it to become flat tasting or even turn into vinegar. However, chilled bottles are also more likely to explode if they’re shaken vigorously.

If you want to chill your wine, do so gently by placing the bottle on ice for at least two hours before serving.

Curious on the ideal temperature your wines should be at? We did a handy infographic in this post:

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Are you supposed to put wine in the fridge?

We wrote about the ideal temperatures your vintages should be kept at and if you have the means to, we strongly recommend storing your wine in a dedicated wine chiller.

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However, we also understand that you may sometimes find yourself in a situation where the ideal wine storage is not available, so the next best option is a regular refrigerator.

Here’s a good tip: never place your wine in the freezer section of the fridge — use the section which contains your daily groceries like your vegetables, cheese etc.

If your wine is going into a refrigerator for more than two hours, take it out and let it warm up again before serving. If your bottle has been opened, don’t re-cork or store it with its cork still attached; this can cause oxidation that will affect how well the wine tastes when served. The best way to keep wine fresh is by storing it in a cool place away from direct sunlight.

Can you reseal wine?

Yes, but it’s not recommended. As mentioned above, the cork will absorb the oxygen and change the taste of your wine. It can also cause a loss in quality over time. If you really need to reseal your wine, we recommend using a stopper.

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Do wine purifiers work?

Wine purifier works by removing the bad taste and odor from your wine, but it does not remove any impurities or bacteria that may be present in your wine. It will only cleanse your wine to a certain extent. If you want to get rid of all the impurities then you need to use a good quality filter system which can also help you with filtering out sediment as well.

Do wine fridges use a lot of electricity?

Dedicated wine refrigerators are designed to keep your wines at the right temperature, but they can also be used as energy savers. The average refrigerator uses around 10% of its total power consumption on cooling and heating. This means that if you have a large fridge with lots of bottles in it, then this will consume more than normal.

Do wine racks have to be tilted?

Many wine racks are tilted, but not all. Wine storage is really personal preference and everyone has their own opinions on how it should be done.

There are many factors that go into making the perfect wine rack for you, such as what kinds of wines or capacity needs to be taken care of, etc. A tilt wine rack may be good for your requirements; then again if space is an issue (or vice versa) try using a horizontal one. But most importantly, make sure to place the rack in a cool area with moderate humidity levels rather than direct sunlight or high heat!

Does a wine cellar need ventilation?

Ventilation is very important in your wine cellar. Since wines are aged inside the bottles, oxygenation of the wine inside the bottle is vital.

Thus, proper ventilation is important for several reasons: to replace air within your climate-controlled room; to eliminate any cross-contamination of odors (for example, moisture) which can spoil some or all of your wines; and also to remove any excess humidity levels that may be causing “caps” on top of the corks.

The ventilation should be set to remove any odors or humidity from the air and to allow no outside contaminants come in. A good tip is to buy a vent follower so you don’t have dust irritated filaments inside your fridge picking up smoke particles, cooking vapors, and other household chemicals which will cause it to deposit carbon on your wine bottles.

Does heat ruin wine?

Heat kills your wine by permanently tainting its flavor. Even when your wine is not in a car on a hot day or in the sun at the beach, you should store it out of the heat. If your wine is exposed to temperatures above 70 degrees for an extended period of time, it will spoil it.

One solution to keep wines fresh for longer periods of time when you are on the move is to use a portable wine cooler bag:

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Does light affect wine?

We’ve talked about heat destroying your precious vintage. What about light?

Sunlight is harmful to your wine. Exposure to light causes the taste of your wine to change radically. The easiest fix for this is just to use a dark place in your home when you store your wine, such as a cabinet or in a cellar.

Does vibration ruin wine?

Vibration can disturb sediment present in your wine , which will affect the taste, but it won’t ruin your wine. Vibration decreases tartaric and succinic acids leading to a reduction in esters — a compound responsible for your wine’s flavors.

How long can wine sit in an open container?

You should keep it in a sealed container, because the oxygen will cause the taste to change. If you don’t have a stopper, you can cover up your bottle with plastic wrap or aluminum foil.

Does shaking/warming red wine ‘loosen’ sediment in the bottle?

The best way to keep sediment out of your wine is decanting it beforehand so that you can remove any bits left behind by the fermentation process.

But if you want to serve sediment-heavy wines anyway, let them sit upright for at least 24 hours before serving. Make sure that there are no external forces acting on the bottles, like being dropped or shaken up, because another shake could stir up the sediment again.

How to decant wine?

First, choose a decanter whose opening is as wide as the bottom of the bottle you want to pour from; this will prevent sediment from escaping with the wine.

Next, hold your glass or decanter at a 45-degree angle below where you think that the wine’s sediment is going to stop pouring out of the bottle.

Third, pour slowly and smoothly. Observe any sediment that approaches the opening of your wine bottle — stop decanting if this happens, tilt the bottle upright to keep the sediment down and start again. This may take a few tries before you get it right — but don’t worry, until you do, just continue to remove whatever does pour into your glass/decanter with a spoon so you can keep any leftover sediment in its bottle for later use.

How are wine bottles corked?

Wine bottles are corked just as they would be corked from a wine barrel.

After the ageing process is complete, the winemaker will insert a “cork” made up of two parts which fit together to form a mushroom-shaped stopper that fits snugly inside the top of the bottle opening.

The cork forms an airtight seal for wine and contains another substance called agglomerated cork made from ground-up pieces of actual natural cork which helps expand and contract as needed to counterbalance pressure which builds up inside a bottle.

To remove or reseal a wine bottle, you must push down on the top half of the cork until it expands back into place again using your fingers. However, we do not recommend doing this — use a wine corker instead.

How is wine preserved?

Wine is preserved by removing the air from the bottle and replacing it with sulfur dioxide gas through a process called “sulfiting.” This helps create an airtight seal which preserves wine as well as makes it taste better.

Sulfite has fungicidal and antioxidant properties, so it protects wine from both mold and spoilage as well as making sure that you enjoy your wine longer.

The amount of sulfite needed to prevent spoilage varies depending on the acid content and alcohol concentration of the wine — though any white or rose wines typically need at least 50ppm (parts per million) of sulfite added to them before bottling.

Red wines typically need upwards of 100ppm, because they contain more phenolic compounds which (like antioxidants) fight off grape decomposition. This is also why red wines tend to age longer than whites — their higher levels of sulfite and antioxidant concentrations keep them fresh and delicious for much longer.

How long can wine be stored after opening?

This is one of the most common questions we get. Many people believe that wine has an infinite shelf life once it’s been opened. This simply isn’t true.

As soon as the bottle is unsealed, oxygen begins to seep in and the decomposition process takes over. Unfortunately, there are many factors which contribute to how fast this happens — including oxygen exposure, temperature, volume of wine remaining at time of opening, storage conditions before opening (bottles should always be stored on their side) etc. The general rule is that one should drink opened bottles within three days for best results; but even then, you’ll notice a significant decline in freshness after two weeks. Just drink it already, there is no delayed gratification when it comes to wine 😉

Kelvin Teo founded Filled With Wine™ because one summer night, he noticed that his glass of wine tasted funny. It was only after he discovered that he stored his bottle wrongly that he realised the importance of proper wine storage. Since then, he has taken the art of wine drinking seriously and is now on a quest to help fellow wine lovers achieve the best drinking experience possible.