Most of us don't have a home wine cellar or fridge to stash those bottles we're waiting to open. While room temp is a bit warmer than ideal for wine, the fridge is a bit too cold. If a wine rack in your kitchen is all you have, room temperature will do in the short term. If you're saving an unopened bottle of wine, you can store it at room temperature for six months to a year and maybe longer. If you plan to hold it for more than a year, it might be time to consider other wine storage options.
Of course, this depends on the type of wine, where you're storing it at room temperature, and what "room temperature" means to you. It's also different for open bottles of wine, which really belong in the fridge, where they'll last for about 3 days.
How Long Can You Store Unopened Wine at Room Temperature?
Wine is most sensitive to extremely warm or hot temperatures, drastic temperature fluctuations, sunlight, vibration, and high humidity. If you have a closet, cool mudroom, basement, or other dark nook, you can easily store your wine for a year without having the perfect conditions a wine fridge offers. However, this varies depending on the type of wine.
Red wine will do fine at room temp for about a year. Store it away from heat, light, and vibration. Want to store it longer than a year? Store it in ideal conditions so it will keep.
Generally, white wines don't hold as long as reds because they don't contain tannins and usually have lighter-colored bottles, so a good rule of thumb is to store white wine at room temperature for six months or less and away from light. This is also true for rosé. Like with red wine, keep your white wines someplace cool, dark, and still. Don't let the temperature swing too drastically.
Sparkling Wine, Prosecco, and Champagne
Sparkling wines prefer cooler storage, so a cool cupboard or basement has better room temperature than a sunny living room. Still, in the right room temperature conditions, sparkling wines will last for a year or longer. Storing away from vibration is especially important for sparkling wines.
Dessert Wine and Fortified Wines
Dessert wines like ice wine and fortified wines like port or sherry have something not found in other wines that serve as a preservative: additional alcohol, extra sugar, or both. So these wines are more shelf-stable than their counterparts. While room temperature conditions aren't ideal, dessert and fortified wines will last for two or three years as long as light, vibration, and temperature fluctuations don't come into play.
How Long Can You Store an Opened Bottle of Wine at Room Temperature?
Storing an open bottle of wine is completely different. You should always refrigerate opened wines, and then you can expect open bottles of red and white wine to last about three days (properly sealed) and fortified and dessert wines to last three to five weeks. You can store sparkling wines in the fridge for a few days after opening them if you can reseal the bottle so the bubbles don't escape. Plan to drink the wine in the next day or so.
You Can Store Wine at Room Temp in the Short Term
That wine fridge is on the bottom of your long Christmas list - we get it. Don't worry too much about storing bottles at home in the short term. If you find a dark place in your home that's below 70°F (21°C), the bottle can hang tight for a year or more until you're ready to finally pull the cork.