Wine might be resilient, but it is sensitive to temperature changes. And although a wine cooler or storage unit ensures your wine is well taken care of, setting the right wine fridge temperature is paramount. Here is all you need to know about wine storage temperatures and how to find the best temperature for your unit.
This Article Contains
1. The Ideal Temperature for Wine Storage
2. Wine Storage Temperature by Wine Types
3. Ideal Temperature for Different Wine Coolers
4. Tips on Storing Wine
The Ideal Temperature For Wine Storage
Why does temperature matter when storing wine? There are two main reasons for storing wine at specific temperatures. The first is to ensure it is at the right temperature when serving it, and the second is to guarantee that the wine evolves smoothly.
All wine ages and eventually decays — this is fermented grape juice, after all. Still, the wine’s evolution means that you can enjoy it at various stages. Age-worthy wine becomes more complex over time, and that’s exciting.
Elevated temperatures speed up wine’s aging process, which can ruin the wine if extreme. On the other hand, cold temperatures slow the wine’s evolution and all the complex biochemical interactions happening inside the bottle. If stored too cold, though, the wine might not evolve at all!
This means that the best wine fridge temperature is neither too hot nor too cold, and it also means that the preferred storage temperature depends on if you’re storing the wine for just a few days or if you’re laying it down for years or decades. Let’s discuss short-term and long-term storage and talk about specific wine storage temperatures for diverse types of wine.
|Best Temperatures for Red Wine||Best Temperatures for White, Rosé and Sparkling Wine|
|Short-Term Storage||50-61°F (10-16°C)||40-50°F (4-10°C)|
|Long-Term Storage||50°F to 57°F (10°C to 14°C)|
Short-term Vs. Long-term Storage
As a reference, your kitchen fridge keeps your groceries at a steady 40°F (4°C). At this temperature, bacteria are kept at bay, and anything stored at this temperature evolves little, including wine. Storing wine at fridge temperature is only suitable if you don’t have a dedicated wine storage unit, and you should only keep your bottles in the fridge for a few days before risking the cork drying out. Lower than 40°F, you get close to the wine’s freezing point of around 15 to 20°F degrees F (-10 to -6°C) — at that point, the wine is most probably ruined.
Short-Term Storage Temperatures
By short-term storage, we mean wine stored to be consumed in days or weeks. Most wine enthusiasts store their wine at these temperatures, considering most wine on the market is not meant to be aged for prolonged periods. Age-worthy wines can also be stored at this range as long as it is consumed soon. We will discuss long-term storage in the next section.
Generally, short-term storage temperatures should be close to the wine’s ideal serving temperature. After all, serving wine at a proper temperature is a must if you want to enjoy its flavors and aromas. Serving wine too warm or too cold is equally disadvantageous.
These are the broad temperature ranges for storing wine, although you can fine-tune the temperature depending on the wine style and the storage period.
- Best Short-Term Temperatures for White, Rosé and Sparkling Wine: 40-50°F (4-10°C)
- Best Short-Term Temperatures for Red Wine: 50-61°F (10-16°C)
Long-Term Storage Temperatures
Long-term storage is ideal for only the most age-worthy wines — those that will not only have a long shelf life but also evolve. Only five percent of the wines on the market are meant to be aged more than three years for white wine and five years for reds. These are often the most coveted and collectible wines, and they’re also often the most expensive.
When storing wine for future enjoyment, you need not worry much about having the wine ready to be served. In this case, a steady temperature is better, as it promotes an even aging process and a gentle evolution.
Not all wine is meant to be stored for more than a few years; those that are can be stored at a unique stable temperature — one that emulates the conditions in underground caves and old-fashioned cellars.
- Best Long-Term Temperatures: 50°F to 57°F (10°C to 14°C).
* This temperature range applies to all types of wine as long as they are meant to be aged, like high-end red wines and oak-aged whites.
Wine Storage Temperature By Wine Types
Although following the guidelines above is enough to ensure the wine is stored at a safe temperature, we must consider that not all wine is created equal. In fact, every wine style has an ideal serving temperature depending on its complexity, concentration, alcohol volume and acid levels.
For long-term storage, keeping the wine close to its ideal service temperature is less important; a steady storage temperature will do for all wine styles. Of course, wine is meant to be enjoyed and not only collected, so having wine ready to be enjoyed matters.
Pro Tip: When purchasing a wine storage unit, assess what percentage of your wine collection will be stored long-term and how many bottles you will have at the proper service temperature. Age wine while always having some bottles ready to be served. Dual-zone wine refrigerators are ideal for multi-purpose storage.
Below we will discuss the ideal storage temperatures for distinct types of wine based on their serving temperatures, otherwise called short-term storage. Most wines on the market will fall into one of the following categories.
|Un-oaked, young white wine, rosé, charmat sparkling wine and dessert wine||40-50°F (4-10°C)|
|Oak-aged White Wine and Champagne||47-54°F (8-12°C)|
|Light-bodied Red Wine||47-50°F (8-10°C)|
|Medium-Bodied Red Wine||50-58°F (10-14°C)|
|Full-Bodied Red Wine||57-61°F (14-16°C)|
Un-oaked, young white wine, rosé, charmat sparkling wine and dessert wine
Most white wine today is fermented in stainless-steel vats and spends no time in barrels. These are youthful, often fruit-forward wines meant to be enjoyed as soon as possible and for up to three years.
The ideal storage temperature for these wines is anywhere between 40°F and 50°F (4-10°C). Consider these wines must often be brought to the table and kept in an ice bucket to preserve their temperature.
Examples in this category include Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio, Dry Riesling, Albariño, Rueda, Trebbiano, and more. Rosé and Italian Method Sparkling wines (like Prosecco) also fall into this category, and so do sweet wines.
Oak-aged White Wine and Champagne
Chardonnay is the most typical wine grape in this category, as it is commonly aged in oak barrels, but there are others. These wines are bold and creamy and might have a complex nose. Given their aromatic complexity and greater concentration, these wines are best stored and served between 47-54°F (8-12°C) with a sweet spot at 50°F (10°C).
Examples of these wines include oak-aged Chardonnay, Rhône white wines, Alsatian white wines and Champagne.
The Ideal Fridge Temperature for Red Wine
Light-bodied Red Wine
Red wine is made with red grapes, and that matters; the gritty particles we call tannins are only present in red grape skins, and tannins, along with alcohol, give the wine body or perceived weight.
Light-bodied red wines tend to have low tannins and high acidity, and they’re best enjoyed colder than most other red wines. The ideal storage temperature for light-bodied red wines is 50°F (10°C). Considering these wines are not brought to the table in an ice bucket, temperatures as low as 47°F (8°C) are acceptable.
Examples in this category include Pinot Noir, Gamay, Grenache, Mencía (Galicia) and St Laurent (Austria).
Medium-Bodied Red Wine
Not all red wines are equally robust. Some are medium bodied with medium tannins, alcoholic warmth and concentration, and these wines need higher temperatures to show their aromatic spectrum. The best temperature to store medium-bodied red wine is anywhere between 50°F and 58°F (10-14°C), ideally at 55°F (12°C).
Examples of medium-bodied red wines include Merlot, Montepulciano, Cabernet Franc, Sangiovese, Barbera and Red Zinfandel.
Full-Bodied Red Wine
The biggest and boldest red wines have enough concentration to age gracefully for many years. These wines are often complex on the nose and palate and benefit from higher serving temperatures.
The ideal temperature for serving full-bodied red wines is between 57-61°F (14-16°C). Above 61°F, ethanol evaporates quickly, giving the wine an unpleasant alcoholic kick. Below this range, full-bodied red wines might seem shy or asleep.
Ideal Temperature For Different Wine Coolers
Here’s a quick cheat sheet for ideal wine storage temperatures depending on the different wine coolers on the market. If you’re looking for a new unit, explore our collection at Ca’Lefort website and talk to one of our representatives.
|Single Zone Wine Cooler||Dual Zone Wine Cooler|
|Red Wine(Short-Term)||50-61°F (10-16°C)||50-58°F (10-15°C)|
|Red Wine(Long-Term)||50°F (10°C)|
|White Wine(Short-Term)||40-50°F (4-10°C)||40-50°F (4-10°C)|
|White Wine(Long-Term)||50°F (10°C)|
Note: You can store Rosé, sweet and sparkling wine, at the same temperatures as white wine.
What is the Best Wine Fridge?
Single Zone vs. Dual Zone Wine Cooler
Single storage units are ideal for long-term wine storage since all wine styles can benefit from a steady low temperature for aging. On the other hand, if you only store wine for short-term consumption, a single-zone unit is also excellent. Remember that you’ll probably have to chill white and sparkling wine on ice before serving.
Dual Zone wine coolers allow for greater versatility. You can store bottles for long-term enjoyment while having a few at the proper serving temperature. You can also use dual-zone wine coolers for wine and other beverages.
Compressor vs. Thermoelectric Coolers
Compressor coolers rely on a coolant gas, much like your refrigerator, so they can reach lower temperatures than thermoelectric coolers. Use a compressor cooler for collections larger than 30 bottles and sub-50°F temperatures.
Thermoelectric coolers create a heat flux between materials with different heat resistance, therefore cooling the unit. Thermoelectric coolers are silent and vibration free; they also use less energy.
If you need consistent temperatures below 50°F or live in a warm area, a compressor cooler might be for you. For milder climates and smaller wine collections, a thermoelectric unit might suit you. Use a thermoelectric cooler for a quieter indoor unit and smaller wine collections.
Tips on Storing Wine
Although the storage temperature is one of the most critical aspects when storing wine at a business and home, there are other factors to consider. The good news? Most wine storage units, wine coolers and beverage fridges take care of these aspects.
Keep wine away from heat sources. Heat not only speeds up wine’s evolution, promoting premature decay, but it can also damage the wine irreparably. Leaving a bottle of wine in the trunk of your car on a sweltering summer day, even for a few hours, will “cook” the wine.
Keep wine away from light. UV rays from the sun and fluorescent lights can and will damage the wine, damaging the most subtle aromatic molecules and changing the wine’s profile. Incandescent light bulbs (now rare) are a bit gentler with wine, but either way, you should store wine in a dark or dim-lit place. It’s worth mentioning that green and brown wine bottles are better at protecting the wine from light than clear bottles.
Store wine at the right humidity. High moisture will damage the wine’s labels, and it can damage corks. Dry environments will also dry out corks, causing air to find its way into the bottle, oxidizing the wine. An average of 60% relative humidity is ideal for long-term wine storage.
Prevent sudden temperature changes. Like any other liquid, wine contracts and expands when changing temperature, and this expansion pushes the cork and pulls in air, damaging the wine via oxidation. Leakage can also occur.
Keep wine away from vibration. Wine storage units and beverage refrigerators are designed to minimize the vibration of their mechanical parts, and it’s because vibration speeds up biochemical interactions in wine.
Keep wine away from chemicals and strong odors. Although corks are tight closures, they allow a small gas exchange between the air inside the bottle and the environment. Storing wine near strong odors or perfumed chemicals can damage the wine.
Take Care of Your Wine, and It Will Take Care of You
Wine might have a long shelf life, but you must store it under the right conditions to give it a chance to shine. Whether you’re a wine collector or enjoy having a few bottles around for everyday enjoyment, knowing how to choose the best wine fridge temperature is critical.
Take care of your wine, and it will take care of you. Only when the wine is stored correctly can it offer you the ultimate vinous experience. Find the best wine storage units at Ca’Lefort and let us help you find the right storage solution.