Wine Storing and Serving Temperatures

Bottles of wine on shelf

Buying a bottle of red or white wine can be exciting enough, but that’s just where the adventure of enjoying wine begins. The real fun comes from owning and sharing new finds and old favorites.

Of course, the trick to feeling confident when offering wine to guests is understanding the proper ways to store and serve each bottle.

What Temperature Should Wine Be Stored At?

After ordering some bottles of wine for home delivery, you should always make sure that you have a good set-up for storing the wine. Unless you are planning to uncork it on the day it arrives, you will need to put it someplace cool.

Generally speaking, red and white wines do best when stored at around 55°F. Most refrigerators are far too cold, hovering closer to the 35°F mark. This means that unless you have a professional wine cellar, you will need to put your wine bottles in a more temperate zone, such as a basement, semi-heated garage, cool closet floor or a commercial wine refrigerator.

Why do you need to store wines at a middle-of-the-road temperature? They age better that way. Too cold, and the aging process slows to a crawl, meaning the wine may taste too bitter or tart. If your wine is stored in hot zones, it could take on murky, muddy or thick flavors that overshadow its perkier undertones.

Wine can go bad after long periods in too-warm storage, or when corked bottles are not stored horizontally to keep the cork damp and oxygen out of the bottle.

What Temperature Should Wine Be Served At?

When you are ready to serve your wine, you should be just as conscientious as you were with its storage. First, consider if you are serving white or red wine.

Serving Temperature of White Wine

White wines are traditionally served a little chillier than red wines, although this can be a matter of personal preference. Still, most white wines do well with a chill-down of about 15-30 minutes in the refrigerator or an ice bucket before serving. Sparkling white wines do well even colder than other white counterparts, as their crispness erupts at near-freezing temperatures of about 45°F.

Serving Temperature of Red Wine

Conventional wisdom recommends serving red wines at room temperature. However, “room temperature” is not a very precise term, as some homes maintain 65°F while others are set at a balmier 75°F. Both temperatures are probably a little too high for getting the most out of a red wine, with the possible exception of some Malbecs, Red Bourdeauxs, Zinfandels, Syrahs and similar varietals.

Red wines are at their best when they are served at around 55°F, the same temperature for their storage. This allows their full-bodied nature to play through with just a hint of coolness on the palate.

What Is the Shelf Life of Well-Stored Red and White Wine?

Contrary to popular belief, not all wine should be aged for years and years. The majority of wine on the market is meant to be drunk within a few years of making. Wines without corks are ready to go immediately, and those with corks can age for a little while if needed. At the end of the day, the best advice is to simply plan for short-term storage of your wines, then buy more wine as you start to run low!

Ready to find your next amazing bottle of wine? Browse our collection of red and white varietals at Marketview Liquor.