Wine Temperature

Lesson Objectives:

Know how temperature affects a wine in storing and serving. Know the proper temperature to store / cellar your wine. Know which temperature will bring the best aroma out of a bottle of wine.

Criticality of Wine Temperature

Temperature, the unseen and often neglected factor, can bring the best and worst out of a bottle of wine in 2 areas: storing and serving wine.

(1) Wine Storage Temperature

Sadly, many great wine collections have been damaged because of instability in temperature and moisture. High temperature (>65ºF) causes the wine to age prematurely, thus losing its flavor and balance. When chilled too cold, the wine also loses its flavor and aromas.

Wide fluctuation in temperature will damage the wine and the cork. Ideal range of temperature for storing red wine is 50-55ºF or 10-16ºC. White wines can be stored at lower ranges at 45ºF. Keep the wines away from sunlight and heat exposure; store them in cellars, wine fridge, and or temperature controlled rooms.

Humidity is another important fine balance. If the humidity is too high, mold can grow and cellar woods and wine labels can be damaged. If the environment is too dry, the cork will crack and air will leak into the bottle, again ruining the wine. Ideal humidity for wine storage ranges from 60-75% RH.

Humidity and other factors also matter. For more details, visit our lesson on Wine Storage.

(2) Wine Serving Temperature:

Wines should be served at a temperature that best reveals its characteristics and aromas. The optimal serving temperature differs for various wines, depending on their grape variety and their region. For example, a rich, intense Bordeaux could be served 1-2 degree below room temperature (~18°C); but a light, fruity red such as Beaujolais is best serve at least 6 degree (~12°C) below room temperature.

Typical temperature for storing red wine ranges from 52ºF - 65ºF, and 45ºF- 50ºF for white wines. The wine serving temperature chart below recommends serving temperature for varietals.

Wine Serving Temperature Table

Go to Lesson 7: Ordering Wine in a Restaurant

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