Wine Storage

Wine Storage Temperature – What You Need to Avoid!

What’s most important, and sometimes not thought about, is proper wine storage temperature. It should be considered so that you can bring the very best aroma out of your wine. Well, it should be a priority really, as wine temperature does matter!

If you’re curious about wine temperature, I have put together this information for you, which will hopefully be useful. Whether you are storing wine at your home already, are looking for the best wine fridge, or creating a wine cellar in your home, the following might help you serve the best wine and host the coolest parties ever!

Why does wine temperature matter?

Whether it’s a party, dinner date, work outing or a simple celebration, you cannot afford to forget to have some good wine on the table. Regularly sipping this warm smooth drink has become a worldwide tradition. Each glass reminds me of the warmth of my home and the goodness of life.

Many people feel the same way, which is why they are choosing to store wine in their homes, either in a wine cooler or wine cellar – to give those precious bottles the special space and care they deserve.

Wine temperature has a big impact on the taste of wine. It can bring the worst and the best out of a bottle. There are three areas that every wine lover or casual drinker should be aware of; humidity, light, and temperature. These are the greatest contributors in keeping, tasting and serving good wine, and are often overlooked.

Why should I keep wine out of the light?

Wine Storage TemperatureWine must be stored in a certain way. It is one of the few products that gets better as it ages but can also get worse if stored in the wrong conditions.

Wine hates light as well as heat. Sparkling wine can be badly affected by strong light. If the wine bottles are made of pale or clear glass the taste will be compromised by too much light; be it beaming light or direct sunlight.

Light bodied white wines are delicate and run the highest risk from exposure to sunlight. This is the reason why wines are sold mostly in black bottles, and packaged in dark tinted bottles, as they offer protection against the sunlight.

This is also why champagne is wrapped in a special light-proof cellophane, as it sucks in the ultraviolet rays and protects the premium Cuvee Cristal from strong light.

In home based cellars, tissue paper is also used, as well as corrugated boxes and wooden crates, for protection from too much light.

In summary, the phenolic content in wine, which are the chemical compounds that affect the taste, color and feel in your mouth, negatively reacts with too much light, and can create potential “wine fault”. These complex molecules are broken down, which is why you must always keep wine out of direct sunlight.

What is the ideal humidity for wine?

The wine cork is a natural product and can deteriorate over time.

“Corks can dry out in hot climates and expose the wine to air.”

If oxygen is allowed to enter the bottle it can fill the space between the top of the wine and the cork, which can cause the wine to spoil. Wine aromas will be released and will eventually unsettle the fermentation process.

A good seal must be kept to avoid rapid damage. To keep wine corks from drying out the ideal relative humidity is between 60-70%, but there is no definitive research to confirm what optimal range of humidity is required.

Wines should not be kept on top of refrigerators because the refrigeration process includes dehumidifying which can cause wine corks to quickly dry out.

Too high or too low humidity can damage wine and make it not very nice to taste. High humidity can also create molds or mildew to form inside the bottle.

What is the best wine storage temperature?

To keep wines tasting their best, temperature plays a big role. In general, the ideal storage temperature for wine is between 10-15 degrees Celsius (50-59 degrees Fahrenheit).

15-20 degrees Celsius (50-68 degrees Fahrenheit) will cause no great harm to wine either, as long as the temperature does not alter dramatically, as this will cause the wine to expand and contract quickly, risking letting air into the bottle.

On the other hand, if the wine is stored for a long time at a temperature in excess of 25 degrees Celsius (77 degrees Fahrenheit) it can boil off the wine’s volatile compounds affecting the color and clarity of the wine. The wine will prematurely age losing its flavor and balance.

If the temperature falls below -4 degrees Celsius (25 degrees Fahrenheit), the lightest of wines will freeze and lose their flavor and aroma, and the cork will be forced out of the bottleneck. This temperature can slow down the maturing process of the wine and leave strong tannins, as well as create an extremely acidic taste.

White wines, however, can be stored at a little lower range of 7 degrees Celsius (45 degrees Fahrenheit).

Freezing and temperature changes

Freezing wine is never a good idea – the ice created causes the wine to dilute.

Wherever you keep your wine the temperature must be kept stable. An acceptable level of fluctuation of temperature is said to be about 2-3 degrees Celsius (5 degrees Fahrenheit) on an average of once per year.

Keeping a constant temperature over time is more important compared to the actual average level of temperature. Having a maximum-minimum thermometer will help to monitor the stability of wine temperature.

Remember, for wine to age properly, changes in temperature should be kept to a minimum. This way, you will avoid the wine from discoloring and prevent an unwanted sour or bitter taste.

How to store wine at home?

Wine Serving TemperatureWines can be stored in cellars, wine coolers, and wine fridges, and in other temperature controlled areas or rooms.

If you have a larger collection of wine, a dark, nice, slightly dank cellar or room with a single entrance is ideal – where only you have the key and can limit access.

Many people, if they are keeping a large number of bottles and cannot afford a cellar or to purchase a full-size wine cooler or wine fridge, use an attic, a basement or a secluded room.

A storage area of this kind should have a line of wine racks to hold a good collection. Having a little tasting area and desk for listing and keeping records is also a nice idea.

If you don’t have this much space, you can keep your wine collection in any room as long as it has an insulation blanket, is near an old fireplace or under the stairs. Having a bowl of water on the ground near the location of the wines can keep humidity levels up too.

If you are a wine enthusiast with extra funds, then you can spend on; buying and creating an artificial cellar; purchasing a full-size wine cooler or fridge, or getting a humidity temperature controlled cabinet style structure, which works like a refrigerator and can keep all kinds of wines at set temperatures.

Where to store wine away from the home?

An even more expensive method would be to let wine warehouses store your collection of wines. Double depth wine racks are usually designed in a way to let wine be stored on its side for the purpose of allowing the cork to stay moist and prevent it from drying up as it is in constant contact with the wine.

Wineries wrap their wines upside down in a container or box for the same reason as it keeps air bubbles from forming by the wine’s top ullage (the space between the very top of the wine and the cork) instead of the middle part if the wine bottle is lying on its side.

Research suggests that the orientation of wine bottles should be at a slight angle and not completely be lying flat.

What temperature wine should be served at?

The true character and aroma of a wine are revealed if served at the right temperature. Serving temperature differs for various types of wines. Below is a rough guide showing these temperatures:

Type Degrees Celsius Degrees Fahrenheit
Sparkling Red 10-12 50-54
Sparkling White 6-10 42-50
Light Red 10-12 50-54
Light Dry White 8-12 46-54
Medium Red 14-17 57-63
Medium Dry White 10-12 50-54
Full Red 15-18 59-65
Full Dry White 12-16 54-60
Light Sweet White 5-10 40-50
Full Sweet White 8-12 46-54

 

Wine Serving Temperature Guide PDFDownload Cool Wine Host’s printable wine serving temperature guide PDF:

How to serve wine?

Now that you know how to store your wine and at what temperature it should be kept at, here are some tips to consider when it comes to serving.

Serving your wine with proper preparation and at the right temperature will help you get the most out of your wine and allow your guests to enjoy the complete flavor and aroma of each and every sip!

How to open and serve a bottle of red or white wine?

Using the corkscrew’s serrated knife, you turn the bottle as you cut around the top, just under the lip. Keep cutting until you’ve gone all the way around. Then remove the foil.

Once you’ve put the knife away, place the corkscrew in the center of the cork and twist it. Keep twisting until you’ve screwed into the cork, leaving one twist of the spiral exposed so you don’t go through the entire cork.

Put the first rest of the corkscrew onto the top of the bottle, lift the corkscrew up and then pull the cork until it’s about halfway out of the bottle. Then, put the next rest on the top of the bottle, but this time, only pull until the cork is almost out, but not quite. Then use your hand to wiggle the rest of the cork out of the bottle.

Pour the wine into the glass until it is about half full. This allows for the glass to be swirled around and aromas to release in the top half of the glass.

Watch our friend at Off to Work demonstrate:

 

How to open and serve a bottle of sparkling wine?

Control the cork by opening it slowly and safely. You don’t want the cork to go flying off and breaking things, or even worse hit one of your guests!

First, remove the foil. Then place your thumb above the cork to hold it while you loosen the wire cage by gently unscrewing the key. Then remove the wire cage and place a small towel and/or your hand over the top of the bottle.

Place the other hand on the bottom of the bottle and turn your hand slowly so the bottle moves towards you. Keep turning until you feel the cork pop smoothly into your top hand and/or towel.

Only pour about an inch into each glass. Once the bubbles have gone down you can then fill each glass to just below the rim.

After serving, the wine should stay chilled by placing the bottle in a bucket of ice.

Here’s another Off to Work demonstration:

 

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