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.
Go to Lesson 7: Ordering Wine in a Restaurant
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Practical Wine Lessons: Wine Tasting Like a Pro | Grapes | Serving Wine | Food Pairing | Preservation | Temperature | Restaurant Ordering | Wine Labels | Wine Regions | Wine Storage | Start a Collection | Common Wine Myths.
Useful Wine Tips: Vintage Guide | Removing a Broken Cork | Serving Order of Wines | Fastest Way to Chill a Wine | Host Wine Party | Elements of a Good Wine | Leftover Wine: Recipe for Vino Punch | Freeze Your Leftover Wine | Wine Moods Pairing | Best Way to Preserve Champagne After Open.
Fun Download: Wine Tasting Scorecard | Wine Serving Temperature Chart | Wine Aroma Table | 3 Must-Know Red Grapes | 3 Must-Know White Grapes | Vintage Chart | Wine Party Themes | Wine Region Maps | Grand Cru Chart | Wine and Moods Pairing Chart.