wine temperature

The Ultimate Wine Temperature Guide

Keep the wine cold and the vibes high this summer with our best wine temperature tips! 

WHY IS WINE TEMPERATURE IMPORTANT? 

You know those aromas, specific tasting notes, and “mouthfeel” descriptions promised on the label? All of the unique flavors of a specific wine are experienced under ideal conditions. A warm white wine might taste sour, stale, or syrupy sweet if served at room temperature, and a red becomes bland and boring when served too cold. Enjoying a glass at the right wine temperature increases the flavor profile, and makes for a smoother and more enjoyable tasting experience. Plus, it increases the likelihood that you’ll love the wine, which is particularly nice if it’s one you haven’t tried before. 

STORING WINE VS. SERVING WINE 

Even though different types of wine are served at unique temperatures, for the most part they can all be stored the same way. A dark, cool place out of sunlight and away from major temperature fluctuations is the best spot. This is why major collectors have their own personal wine cellar, but a utility room in your basement works just as well. Just don’t think these wines should all be stored for the same amount of time. A white wine or rosé rarely ages well, so place those in a specific spot you’ll see often before the season is over. Then, move them to the fridge on the day you plan to serve. 

Cans: Single-serve wines in cans could be banished to the basement, or they could be enjoyed regularly upstairs. We prefer the latter. Designate a section of the fridge to your canned wine (including reds!) and grab one whenever the mood strikes. They’re already cold and in a perfect portion for one person. If choosing a red, remove a can from the fridge about 30 minutes before you plan to enjoy it so it warms up to the optimum temperature. Serve straight from the can or pour into your favorite stemware. 

Boxes: Does anyone store boxes of wine? … Bueller? … Bueller? Kidding! We’ve all seen those deals at the grocery store encouraging you to buy a certain amount to claim a good deal (even though it’s a LOT of wine). A basement or a pantry is still your best bet here for wine storage, just make sure to avoid the garage where the heat can penetrate the box and slowly “cook” your wine in the plastic bag. Keep open boxes in the fridge, and let glasses of red warm up for 15 minutes or so before you take a sip. 

Bottles: Storing bottles of wine properly might seem “snobby” at first, but it might actually save you money in the long run. When wine is kept at a steady temperature (and below 70 degrees), it will hold its quality longer. Many red wines will actually improve over time if they are kept in wine storage until you serve them. Clear bottles like those for Rosés and white wines, are especially vulnerable to changes in quality if kept in an area that gets any sunlight, and the same goes for corked wines in dry climates. 

OPTIMUM WINE SERVING TEMPERATURES 

White Wine: Served too cold and white wine will lose a little bit of the essences that make it special. Keep it cold for two hours in the fridge, but take it out and let a bottle breathe for 15-30 minutes prior to serving. 45-50 degrees is a good temperature zone. 

Rosé Wine: Similar to white wines, darker Rosés made with Malbec grapes should be served above fridge temperature (45-50 degrees), but a lighter Rosé is best served right out of the cooler. We get it — it’s hot and you want the wine. So don’t wait around! 

Sparkling Wine: Serve bubbly wines as cold as possible — “fridge” temperature is ideal. Sparkling wines should taste crisp, refreshing, and have a velvety mouthfeel. This is part of what makes these wines perfect for toasting and for enjoying before a meal. 

Red Wine: Depending on how light your red wine is, you can serve it cooler, warmer, or to preference. Pinot Noirs and Sangioveses can be served slightly chilled, between 55-60 degrees, but a Cabernet Sauvignon is best enjoyed slightly below room temp.

IS A WINE FRIDGE WORTH IT? 

Before you decide if a wine fridge is right for you, it’s important to know what a wine fridge is NOT … 

A wine fridge is not an overpriced dorm refrigerator with a glass door and a rack for bottles. It is a specific refrigerator that holds wine bottles at a steady temperature, and also keeps them away from food odors and at the proper humidity level. For corked wines, humidity control is especially important. If the air in your special wine-storing space is too dry, the cork might crack and let in air, which will eventually spoil the wine. This is why storing wine in the basement works well for the average wine drinker — the air is constantly cool and the humidity levels are higher than the rest of the house. 

However, even a casual drinker will appreciate a wine fridge over a makeshift rack in the basement. It makes storing wine simple, easily accessible, and you can count on your wine being the right temperature all the time. Some wine fridges even offer dual zones for red and white wines, like this option from Frigidaire. And if you have a small amount of space, consider a built-in like this top-rated wine fridge by EdgeStar. Sure it only holds seven bottles, but count on it to chill your favorites without wasting space. 

TRICKS FOR COOLING WINE DOWN FAST 

We’ve all been there … the doorbell rings and the Rosé is still sitting on the counter, or a guest arrives with a nice bottle they grabbed a few hours beforehand. Maybe it’s cold, maybe it’s warm, but one thing is certain — it’s never cold enough.  Thankfully, there are a few solutions you can try. Some of these ideas might even surprise you! 

Ice Bucket: Revolutionary, we know! If you don’t have an ice bucket, they’re easy to find at affordable prices, and they aren’t just for Champagne (cans fit in a bucket too). The trick is to fill the bucket 1/2 to 3/4 of the way up with a mixture of ice and water to encapsulate the bottle completely. Some people even swear by adding salt, which drops the freezing temperature of water, and makes the solution (and your wine) colder faster! 

Fridge/Freezer: The fridge works just fine if your plan is to serve a specific bottle later in the evening. A bottle of red only needs 30 minutes to an hour to get to temperature, and a bottle of white or Rosé will be perfect to drink in two hours. If you have just minutes to spare, place the wine in the freezer, but make sure to set a timer for 30 minutes to check on it! Wine freezes at 15-20 degrees and can explode in your fridge if you leave it in there too long. After all, it’s easy to get distracted when friends arrive. 

Bottle Chiller: Find yourself in last-minute hosting situations often? This Rapid Beverage Chiller might be your new best friend. Just add ice and water, and then turn it on. It cools cans 90 times faster than in the fridge, and a bottle of Rosé will be ready to enjoy in less than five minutes. Plus, it doesn’t take up a lot of counter space! 

Frozen Grapes: We didn’t come up with this one, but it’s genius! After all, wine is made with grapes, they add a fruity element to your wine, and they’re relatively flavorless (particularly when frozen). But who keeps frozen grapes in their freezer? We do … now that we know about this wine temperature hack! If frozen grapes aren’t the vibe you’re going for, wine pearls look classy and cool down your drink without watering it down. 

Serving your wine at the right temperature is easy with little preparation! Consider what is easiest for you and your home setup, and enjoy sipping chilled wine all summer long.


Erin Hooker

Erin Hooker is a writer with experience creating wine, food, and interior design content. She began contributing to Graham + Fisk’s blog in 2021.

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