Wine is a living, breathing liquid. Within each glass, chemicals and compounds are constantly reacting, changing, and softening over time. Because of its unstable nature, wine can be a bit temperamental.
Dozens of different factors can affect how a wine ultimately tastes, like storage temperature, sunlight, oxidation, even sound vibrations. Paying attention to each of these factors in storage and serving will make your favorite flavors pop when you finally take that first sip.
One of the most important elements in fully appreciating your favorite vino is drinking at the varietal’s optimal temperature. A perfectly cooled glass brings out each wine’s unique character and bouquet, helping you make the most from every sip.
In this article, learn about the optimal serving temperature of dozens of different popular wines, from Champagne to Zinfandel and everything in between.
Proper White and Red Wine Temperatures
In general, red wines should be served slightly cooler than room temperature at 62-68° F (15-20° C), while an optimal white wine’s temperature hovers around 49-55° degrees F (7-12° C).
Of course, these ballpark figures are general guidelines and might not be as precise as you’re looking for.
Don’t worry, we’ve compiled a comprehensive list of optimal serving temperatures for every wine under the sun. Read through the selections below and see if you can find your favorite varietal!
Ice cold wines (38-45° F) - Sparkling and light-bodied white wines like Champagne love to be sipped just above fridge temperature. Cool your favorite wine to a crisp 40° F by placing it in the fridge about 40-45 minutes before serving.
Cold wines (45-55° F) - In this slightly warmer range, you’ll find full-bodied white wines like Pinot Gris, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, and Riesling, as well as smooth rosés. If you’re cooling one of these vinos from a comfortable room temperature, set your stopwatch for 35 minutes of fridge time to approach optimal serving temperature.
Cellar (55-60° F) - This family contains light and medium-bodied reds like classic Pinot Noir and soothing Cabernet Franc. If you’re grabbing one of these wines from a calibrated wine fridge or cellar, you can start sipping immediately. If it was stored in a cupboard, you’ll likely want to pop the wine in the fridge for about 15 minutes before serving.
Room (60-68° F) - On the warm side of the spectrum, you’ll find medium-bodied reds, full-bodied reds, and dessert wines such as Syrah, Zinfandel, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon. These wines like to be a bit toasty, so you should only cool your wine in the fridge about 10 or 15 minutes before serving.
Proper Wine Storage Temperature
If you’re a blossoming wine collector, you’ll find that storage conditions can affect your sip almost as much as serving temperature.
Storing in too-cold temperatures can dry out the cork and allow those coveted ethanol vapors and natural aromas to escape. Meanwhile, storing in warm temperatures causes the liquid to expand, building up pressure and bacteria within the bottle while potentially damaging the wine.
For optimal conditions, both white and red wine storage temperatures are fairly identical — most should be housed in a relatively cool wine fridge or cellar environment, around 55-60° F. You’ll want to pay special attention to full-bodied aromatic wines, as these tangy delights suffer the most from a humid, warm environment.
If you have a growing, diverse collection of wines and you care about maximizing their taste, then you should think about investing in a wine fridge or cellar space. Remember, wine needs care — its fragility is precisely what makes it so rewarding and delicious. If you don’t house your quality wines in quality storage, then you’re likely not making the most from every sip.
Of course, your favorite varietal can still taste delicious even if it’s not at 100% optimal storage temperature. If you have a reasonably cool environment within your home and generally finish a wine a few weeks after the purchase date, then you might be fine forgoing a traditional wine storage solution.
Make the Most of Your Wine with the Wine Connoisseur
At the end of the day, there are no rules in wine. Ultimately, your enjoyment is going to come down to your taste buds and personal preferences.
If you truly prefer a sparkling wine piping hot or a full-bodied red ice-cold, then go ahead and sip the way you enjoy it. These are guidelines, not hard-and-fast rules. Pay attention to your feelings, your taste buds, and don’t judge yourself!
There is no absolute right temperature, only the absolutely right temperature for you.
However, if you really care about making the most from your vino, then you should definitely look into proper wine aeration. Exposing your favored varietal to the perfect amount of oxygen amplifies those natural aromas you first fell in love with.
With our Wine Connoisseur, you’ll never have to worry about serving temperature or aeration ever again. Our single-serve wine dispenser adjusts wine temperature and oxidation for you, making every glass a breeze and every sip a celebration.