What Is the Best Temperature for Wine?
How many times have you put a bottle of wine in the refrigerator so you could chill it? Maybe you’ve stuck a bottle in the freezer when you’re in a hurry to have a chilled product. Both of these options are not the best choices you could make, unfortunately, which means the wine doesn’t taste as good as it should. Wine should always be stored in conditions that are between 45F-65F – no higher or no lower. Otherwise your wine will age prematurely or worse – escape from the bottle.
What if you don’t have a place in your home that maintains a consistently cool temperature so your wine can be stored properly? There are still some options available to you thanks to modern wine chilling technology. Whether you need a cold bottle of wine fast because you’re entertaining or you need to properly store a few bottles of wine for future use, here’s what you’ve got to do.
Wine coolers keep temperature and humidity constant.
It’s not just the heat. It’s also the humidity that can affect how wine reacts to its storage environment. As a general rule of thumb, a 70% humid environment is a good place to store wine because the moisture in the air helps to keep the cork in the bottle from drying out. If you’ve ever corked your wine, you know how important it is to have a wet cork.
Wine coolers let you set specific temperature and humidity levels for your wine so that it can be perfectly stored for one day, one year, or however long it needs to be. Some models will even sit on your counter so you always have easy access to a bottle of wine when you need it.
Wine chillers can make a bottle of wine instantly cold.
Don’t stick your wine in the freezer. Just don’t do it. Even if you’ve only got it in there for a few minutes, the extreme cold is going to change the flavor of your wine. For whites, the profile becomes more bitter and dry. For reds, the wine becomes more sour – and you shouldn’t be chilling most red wine in the first place anyway!
Use a wine chiller instead when you want to have a cool glass of wine. You can have something as simple as an ice bucket that can hold your wine or there are wrap-around ice chillers that will cool down a bottle in as little as 5 minutes. This allows you to enjoy the wine before the cold temperatures affect the flavor of it, creating a win/win situation for you.
Dual zone chillers, coolers, or refrigerators are not always needed.
All wine should be stored around the 55F mark. It doesn’t matter whether it is red or white wine. Only specific types of wine, such as vermouth, should be refrigerated at a lower temperature. Where a dual zone appliance can be helpful comes from the serving temperatures that wine should be presented at depending on the variety in question.
White wines should be served colder than 55F. Red wines should be served warmer than 55F. If you’re not sure about how cold or warm a wine should be, then look at the color of the wine itself. The lightest wines generally should be served at a colder temperature. If all you plan on doing is storing your wine, then a dual zone appliance may not be the best option. Look for single temperature appliances instead.
Avoid the grittiness with consistency.
For older wines, some people believe that a lack of consistency in temperature creates a wine that is gritty with sediment. This isn’t necessarily true. It’s more likely that older wines become gritty due to vibrations. Something like a dishwasher running next to your wine cooler could be enough to hasten the chemical reactions that occur within wine as it ages and evolves. A wine that is still is a wine that will taste great when chilled – or served on the warmer side if it is a red.
Of course you’re not going to store wine above your stove or oven. You’re also not going to store it by your fireplace. You’re going to pick somewhere that is cool and maybe slightly humid. Yet many people place their wine coolers or specialized refrigerators in a location that is not really suitable for the storage of wine.
You will still get a properly stored bottle of wine with a wine cooler no matter where it is placed. Having the cooler be somewhere like the basement instead of being next to the fireplace will save you energy costs in the long run because the cooler doesn’t have to work as hard to protect your wine.
Keep your cooler out of the sunlight. Even a small closet is a good choice if you don’t have a basement or cellar.
The best temperature for wine depends on storage and serving needs. Follow these tips and your wine will be incredible every single time.