What’s the best temperature to store my wines?
Whether you’re a beginner wine drinker or a wine aficionado, people are often asking “What’s the best temperature is to store my wines?” By far one of the most often asked questions by wine collectors, the answers can be as varied as the wines being stored, depending on who you ask. Wine is just as much about personal preference as it is about science and chemistry. Wine can be complex and diverse, just like people’s personal tastes. People’s tastes can be very subjective, where some people enjoy wine more aged to enjoy secondary flavors in wine, while others prefer a younger, cleaner wine with less complex notes. It should also be noted that there is a difference between storage temperature and drinking temperature, which will be discussed in more detail later in this post. However, one answer remains the same: wine cellar climate control will preserve the wine until it reaches its ideal age for consumption.
The first recommendation when it comes to wine storage temperature is consistency. Wine rooms that fluctuate greatly in temperature can really impact wine, potentially causing seepage by the expansion and contraction of the cork. Wine experts such as Wine Spectator list consistency as one of the 7 basic principles for wine storage. This applies to humidity in the wine room as well; 50%- 70% relative humidity is conventional wisdom.
The second recommendation for wine storage temperature is keeping bottles cool overall. Any temperature above 70 degrees will age the wine more rapidly which can negatively impact the taste of the wine. Any temperature too cold can dry out the cork and cause seepage. An ideal overall wine storage temperature is 55 – 57 degrees. Other considerations regarding wine storage can include lighting, ventilation, and even movement or security of the bottles. Any of these can impact wines over time.
Another factor to consider is whether you’re looking at long term storage vs. short term storage. For long term storage, which is anything over 6 months, it’s recommended that bottles are ideally stored in the 55-57 degree range. However, if you plan on consuming your wine within 6 months of purchase, many suggest that you simply store the wine at the ideal serving temperature, illustrated below:
- 40-50 degrees: light, dry white wines and sparkling wine
- 50 – 60 degrees: Full-bodied white wines and light fruity red wines
- 60 – 65 degrees: Full-bodied red wines and port wines
Here’s are some serving temperatures for specific wines according to Wine Guardian:
- 39-43°F – Sweet Sparkling Wine
- 42-44°F – Eiswein, Sweet Vouvray
- 42-45°F – Crémant, non-vintage Classic Rosé, White Zinfandel
- 43-46°F – Vintage Sparkling Wine, Muscat New World, Riesling Gewürztraminer, Loire Valley Whites (Sancerre), Sauvignon Blanc, Alsace Riesling, Italian Whites
- 48-52°F – Beaujolais, Nouveau French Chablis, Chardonnay, White Burgundy, Viognier, Condrieu
- 50-54°F – Tawny Port (chilled), Full-Bodied Chardonnay
- 53-56°F – Côtes du Rhône
- 56-58°F- Chianti, Sangiovese, Barbera
- 58-61°F – Young Bordeaux, Young Cab
- 58-62°F – Merlot, Light Zinfandel
- 59-62°F – Tawny Port
61-63°F – Red Burgundy Pinot Noir Chianti Riserva Barolo Merlot (oak-aged)
- 61-64°F – Grand Cru Bordeaux, Mature California Cab, Mature Rhone, Zinfandel, Vintage Port
The bottom line is, whether you have a traditional style wine cellar or modern wine cellar, storage and drinking temperatures are an important consideration for any wine collector.
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