Drinking vs. Storage Temperature

To enjoy your wine collection at its finest, temperature matters.

When it comes to serving wine, one of the most critical guidelines is also among the most commonly overlooked. We’re talking about wine temperature. Incorrect wine temperatures affect both the taste and the nose of wine. Not only do wine temperatures vary by type of wine, but it is also important to note the difference between storage and drinking temperature. View our wine serving temperature infographic in °F or see the infographic in °C.

Why the Storage Temperature of Wine Matters

When it comes to proper wine storage temperatures, consistency is key. Fluctuations in temperature stress the wine and cause the liquid in the bottle to expand and contract. This expansion and contraction puts pressure on the seal of the cork against the bottle and causes premature leakage and spoilage. To avoid such issues and ensure optimal wine storage, keep your wine cellar at the ideal 55-57°F temperature with an average of 60% relative humidity. This combination of temperature and relative humidity allows the wines to mature slowly, reduces mold growth, keeps the corks from drying out, and prevents spoiling of the labels.

Why Drinking Temperatures of Wine Vary

Let’s talk first about proper wine drinking temperature. Wine is a complex combination of unstable compounds which when served at an improper temperature can throw off the balance of its main flavor elements: sourness, sweetness, and bitterness. If a wine is served too warm, the alcohol tends to evaporate quickly, causing the wine to lose its structure and body along with a distorting of the nose, resulting in a harsh alcohol bite. This happens all too often when white wine is not served at its proper 49-55°F (9°C to 13°C) temperature.

Conversely, when wine is served too cold, aromas can be withheld, which also affect nose and taste. When red wine is not served at its proper 62-68°F (17°C to 20°C) temperature, a more bitter taste may result, as the tannins have insufficient time to breathe and soften. If your bottle requires quick chilling, simply submerge it in a metal wine bucket with ice, water and salt for a fast cool-down.

Serving Temperature Option

wine cabinetsThe Serving Temperature option allows a Wine Guardian wine-cellar cooling unit to control to an extended temperature range from 42°F to 64°F (5°C to 18°C).  This option is ideal for single to multiple cabinet applications and small wine rooms where consumption-temperature cooling is preferred.  It also allows the user to rotate wine stock and change set point from season to season, making it ideal for restaurants, wine bars,  clubs, etc.  Read more.

Suggested temperatures for serving wine:

Recommended Serving Temperature Wine 
39-43°F (Below 6°C) Sweet Sparkling Wine
42-44°F (5-6.7°C) Eiswein, Sweet Vouvray
42-45°F (5-7°C) Crémant, non-vintage Classic Rosé, White Zinfandel
43-46°F (6-8°C) Vintage Sparkling Wine, Muscat New World, Riesling Gewürztraminer, Loire Valley Whites (Sancerre), Sauvignon Blanc, Alsace Riesling, Italian Whites
48-52°F (9-11°C) Beaujolais, Nouveau French Chablis, Chardonnay, White Burgundy, Viognier, Condrieu
50-54°F (10-12°C) Tawny Port (chilled), Full-Bodied Chardonnay
53-56°F (11.7-13°C) Côtes du Rhône
56-58°F (13-14°C) Chianti, Sangiovese, Barbera
58-61°F (14-16°C) Young Bordeaux, Young Cab
58-62°F (14-17°C) Merlot, Light Zinfandel
59-62°F (15-17°C) Tawny Port
61-63°F (16-17°C) Red Burgundy Pinot Noir Chianti Riserva Barolo Merlot (oak-aged)
61-64°F (16-18°C) Grand Cru Bordeaux, Mature California Cab, Mature Rhone, Zinfandel, Vintage Port