The Ideal Temperature for Your Wine Fridge: A Detailed Guide
So, you finally bought that wine fridge you’ve long desired. Your priceless bottles of heavenly goodness now have their designated place in your home. But what is the ideal temperature for your wine fridge? Should it store or chill the bottles?
I remember buying my first wine cooler. I just plugged in the appliance and set the lowest temperature, unsure of what I was doing. After some research and a few spoiled wines, I found there is the right temperature for storing, then the right temperature for serving each type of wine.
Things can be confusing at first. So, if you’re a novice wondering how to store the more expensive bottles, this guide is for you.
What Is The Ideal Wine Storage Temperature?
We all know wine must be served at different temperatures. Reds express their flavor and aromas at higher temperatures. Likewise, whites, sparkling and rosé wines need to be chill.
This often creates confusion when it comes to choosing the right storage temperature for your bottles.
However, things are simple. Ridiculously simple. Just think of a traditional cellar, the type arranged in a basement or in an old brick mansion in the middle of a vineyard in Tuscany. Do you think they have separate chambers for each kind of wine, and each of these chambers has a different storage temperature?
Spoiler alert! No, they don’t. They keep all wines in the same cellar, at the same temperature. And you know what this means? It means you should do the same.
In fact, all types of wines must be stored at the same temperature, which is in the range of 55°F.
Therefore, if you only plan to store wine in your wine fridge and enjoy both reds and whites, investing in a single zone unit of the right capacity to accommodate all your bottles suffices.
Things change if you also want to bring wines at serving temperature. Not only reds and whites are served at different temperatures, but the storage temperature typically differs from the serving temperature. Let’s have a detailed look at things.
What Is The Ideal Wine Serving Temperature?
I said above ‘bringing wines to serving temperature.’ Why didn’t I say to chill the wines? Simple. Not all wines must be served chill. Some taste better at room temperature, so you’ll actually have to warm them. If you own a wine fridge, there is good news. Most specific appliances come with a generous temperature range that allows you to keep reds at serving temperature (aka warm) or chill whites and sparkling wines.
Let’s see what’s the best temperature setting.
Red Wine Serving Temperatures
Red wines benefit from being served at room temperature. When the liquid is warmer, it exposes all those nutty and fruity flavors red wine is famous for. But this doesn’t mean you should serve it hot like tea.
If you don’t have a wine fridge able to keep your beverage at this temperature, either chill the wine for 30 minutes in your standard fridge if you stored it at room temperature, or warm it up for half an hour if it was kept in the refrigerator.
White Wine Serving Temperatures
On the contrary of the red, white wine tastes better when chill. White wine is often refreshing, frequently used in wine coolers and cocktails, and pairs beautifully with many light dishes.
White wine must be served at temperatures from 49°F to 55°F.
Now, a thing to remember is that wine must never be served with ice. Just make sure you properly chill it before serving and keep it in a wine bucket filled with ice to keep it at serving temperature during dinner. Ice does nothing but dilutes your beverage, ruining most of its flavors and aromas.
The only exception to this is if you use wine ice cubes. They are easy to make from leftover wine, and you can even flavor them up with fruit or herbs, for a twisty extra touch.
Rosé wine must be served at the same temperature.
Champagne Serving Temperatures
Have you ever enjoyed that fizzy taste of champagne bubbles on your tongue? Admit it, we all did. Champagne if one of the noblest beverages, fine and elegant. Besides bubbles, it expresses subtle hints of fruits and herbs, a crisp taste and mesmerizing aromas.
Some people refer to all sparkling wines when talking about Champagne. And although this beverage is only produced in France, at least the serving temperature of most sparkling coincide with the serving temperature of champagne.
If you don’t have a wine fridge, never chill it in the freezer, as the bubbles could cause the bottle to shatter. You can either chill the bottle in a wine bucket for half an hour, or on the bottom drawer of your fridge for four hours.
Also, avoid serving champagne in pre-chilled glasses, as the cold glass will alter the aromas and flavors of the beverage, making you lose some bubbles.
The Ideal Temperature for Your Wine Fridge
With all the above in mind, which is the ideal temperature for your wine fridge? It obviously depends. What is your purpose? Store or keep at serving temperature?
Single Zone Wine Fridge
The ideal temperature of a single zone wine fridge is around 55°F. This is the ideal storage temperature, and from this point, it’s easy to either chill or warms up a bottle depending on which type you enjoy. However, if you want to keep your bottles at serving temperature, just use the ranges above to determine what’s the best temperature for you.
Dual Zone Wine Fridge
Dual zone wine fridges are much more versatile. You can both store and chill or warm up bottles in the same appliance.
Most dual zone wine coolers will require you to keep a compartment warmer than the other, typically the lower zone. This isn’t a rule, however, and the manual will always offer details on which compartment should be warmer and what is the max temperature difference between the zones.
If you drink red wine, set a zone at storage temperature (55°F), and the other zone at serving temperature. Move the bottle from the storage to the warming up area at least a few hours before drinking.
In case you’re drinking whites, set a zone at storage temperature, and the other zone at a lower serving temperature. Like above, move the bottle from zone A to zone B a few hours before serving.
Do you enjoy both reds and whites? You can set the zones at a temperature slightly higher or lower than the normal storage temperature to separate your drinks. For the white, set the temperature in the range of 52°F. As for the reds, around 58°F is a great average to both store and keep the bottles closer to the serving temperature.
Storing and chilling wine is more of an art than exact science. While the above are ideal temperatures, just test and see what works better for you. For instance, I know what’s the serving temperature of my favorite Merlot, but I like it slightly chillier.
I also enjoy a Pinot Gris that is slightly warmer than it should be.
My point is, see what’s the best temperature for you, and adjust your wine fridge accordingly. But don’t forget, keeping it in the 55°F range is ideal if you only want to store your wine for the long term.