So, you finally started buying enough red wine that you need to store it, but do you know for how long or at what temperature to store red wine?
Wine professionals will tell you the perfect temperature to store red wine depends on the type of wine or varietal.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t have the space or budget to store each of my wines at a different proper temperature.
In order to maintain the quality of a wine a general rule is to store red wine between 45 – 65 degrees Fahrenheit.
But let’s break down how to do this. And inexpensively.
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Transporting your Wine Home
The first step in ensuring your yummy tasting wines maintain their bottled deliciousness is to transport them home with care. Two things are very much against you in this endeavor.
First, the vibration of the car. Some insist vibrations can damage wine by speeding up the chemical reactions in the liquid. This seems to be an issue more so with long term storage.
Do pack your wines so the bottles keep from banging together. Use a case box from the store or packing box or bag from your local winery to transport your new found favorites home.
Second, is high temperatures. The biggest damaging factor in getting wines home is letting them heat up in your car.
You want to keep the wine temperature as low as possible during transportation. So, don’t put wine in your trunk. Keep the wine in the passenger compartment of your car close to air conditioning.
When I visit wineries, I pack a large cooler in my car. I put ice packs in it and keep it on my backseat. I move it to the rear compartment of our SUV if I have guests riding along. As I buy wines, I place them in the cooler using cloth wine bags to pad the bottles. I may not know exactly what temperature to store red wine temporarily in my car, but the wine stays fairly cool even on a hot day.
What is the Best Temperature to Store Red Wine?
Once my wine arrives home, I do my best to maintain a consistent temperature in the area where I store red wine and other wines.
Wine professionals insist it is essential to maintain a constant temperature when you store your wines. Temperature fluctuations can damage wine labels, cause chemical reactions, speed oxidation, and age the wine prematurely.
Heat is the biggest enemy of wine. If you store red wine at temperatures higher than 70° F the wine will age more quickly than is usually desirable. Additionally, if it gets much hotter, your wine may get “cooked,” resulting in flat aromas and flavors. This has sadly happened to some of my wines when being transported from wineries via commercial delivery companies.
The best place to store your wines is in a location that can maintain a consistent temperature. And despite serving red wine at “room temperature”, this is not what is the best temperature to store red wine.
According to Wine Spectator, many wine experts debate what temperature to store red wine in order to age it properly. Most will agree that the correct temperature to store the vast majority of wines is between 45° F and 65° F or 8 – 20 ° C. Most indicate 55° F is the closest to perfect storage temperature, but there isn’t exact science behind that number.
Don’t wring your hands too much if the temperature where you store red wine runs a couple of degrees warmer. Just be sure to open your bottles of wine within a few years from their release, not the purchase date.
Avoid 5 Things to Maintain What Temperature to Store Red Wine
Whether you are holding on to a special bottle of wine or you have many wine bottles in your growing wine collection there are several things to avoid when storing wine.
5 Best Tips for What Temperature to Store Red Wine at Home
1. Avoid High Humidity.
Wine experts agree that extreme humidity levels can damage wines and wine labels for you collectors out there.
When humidity is too low (which some claim is 50%), your corks can dry out which may let air into the bottles. Too much air or oxidation will spoil the wine. And with high humidity levels of over 80%, mold can be an issue that won’t hurt properly sealed wine, but may damage your labels.
Anywhere from 50 – 75% is a safe range for storing wine.
2. Avoid Sunlight.
It is a very good idea to store wine in a dark place. Direct sunlight can be detrimental to wine as it can adversely react with compounds in the wine. Long exposure to natural light can change a wine’s flavor and aromas.
Additionally, the sun’s UV rays can prematurely age wine and degrade its flavor profile. Lighter wines are usually bottled in tinted glass to offer some protection from light. But if you store your wines in an open room, keep them in their boxes or put them in wooden crates to protect them from direct light.
3. Avoid Heat.
Storing wine in cooler temperatures is the best way to go. If wine is kept at a high temperature in excess of 77 °F (25 °C) for long periods of time, it may be spoiled or become “corked” and develop off-flavors that taste “raisiny”, stewed, or metallic.
The exact length of time that a wine is at risk of exposure to high temperatures will vary depending on the wine. But why risk losing any bottle of wine? Keep them stored at the ideal temperature range between 45 – 65 degrees Fahrenheit and you shouldn’t have to worry about them.
4. Avoid Over the Refrigerator Wine Storage Racks.
It used to be common to find a wine rack over or near the refrigerator in the kitchen. Don’t put your wine in these racks! The heat from running the refrigerator rises and the wine storage is the first place it hits. Friends of mine placed a wine rack next to their refrigerator and every bottle of wine in it spoiled in just a few months.
5. Avoid Regular Refrigerators and Freezers.
If you expose wine to temperatures that are too cold even for a short period, the wine can freeze and expand. This can cause the cork to push out of the bottle or the bottle can crack.
Temperature swings when opening and closing a refrigerator or when repeatedly transferring wine from a warm room to a cool refrigerator can also cause adverse chemical reactions in the wine that may lead to a variety of wine faults.
Long-term storage in regular refrigerators is not recommended. And you may think you’ll remember throwing that bottle of wine in the freezer, but distractions often take hold and that wine is a goner.
Best Ways to Store Red Wine
Keep in mind, that it’s helpful to remember that only a small percentage of fine wines on the market benefit from long-term aging. Most wines are best enjoyed within a few years of release. If you decide to buy wines to age or collect, you should consider investing in professional-grade storage and this is a totally different ballgame.
For the rest of us wine lovers, however, following a few simple guidelines should keep your wines safe until you’re ready to drink them.
Inexpensive Guidelines for What Temperature to Store Red Wine
In general, a wine has a greater potential to develop complexity and a more aromatic bouquet if it is allowed to age slowly. Optimal conditions include out of direct sunlight in a cool environment with a constant temperature. The lower the wine storage temperature, the slower the aging process of wine. This allows the wine’s flavor to develop complex notes.
When deciding on your storage area for your bottles of wine, choose a relatively dark room inside your home with good ventilation. And stay away from rooms with warmer temperatures like those close to the kitchen, laundry room, or outside doorways.
You should store wine bottles with corks on their sides in order to keep the cork wet. A dry cork can shrink and allow air into the bottle potentially ruining your wine.
An easy way to do this is to purchase a wine rack. This is also a good way to store screw cap wines. All bottles take up less space and are easily retrieved for consumption when stored in racks.
If you are not ready to invest in a wine rack, then lay your boxes of wine on their sides in a cool dark location. I kept many cases of wine in my extra bathroom in the basement. The boxes of wine were stored very easily in the bathtub while keeping the wines cooler and the bottles lying down. I pulled the shower curtain closed and no one was the wiser.
What Temperature to Store Red Wine Long Term
Again, most professionals state the ideal storage temperature range for long-term storage of the vast majority of wines is between 45° F and 65° F. Different wine experts give different temperatures, but almost all fall in this range.
If you are ready to begin collecting, then a wine cellar may be your best long-term investment.
If you are not ready for that expense or you don’t have the space then look at wine refrigerators. A wine cooler maintains the temperature control of your wines. It is a great way to minimize temperature changes despite the seasonal ups and downs of your heating and air conditioning.
For the best results, put the cooler in a dark room away from direct sunlight. This will help it to keep running for a long time and reduce the exposure of your wines.
Set your wine cooler to the ideal temperature for the majority of the wines you are storing in it.
If you are storing heavier wines like a Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, or Malbec you can increase the temperature to 60 – 63° F. Lighter red wines such as Pinot Noir, Bordeaux, or Spanish wines can be stored slightly cooler between 55 – 60° F.
If you are storing both red and white wines, then a dual-temperature wine cooler may be your best choice.
What Temperature to Store Red Wine Short Term
Even if you intend to drink wine just a few years after bottling, you should consider proper wine storage in a cool place for all of your bottles.
A wine fridge is an excellent choice for maintaining what temperature to store red wine in the short-term. It provides cool temperatures and humidity control.
Even for a few years keeping a constant temperature of your wine can make or break your investment.
What Temperature to Store Other Wines Than Red Wine
When seeking what temperature to store red wine you can also address what temperature to store other wines.
Storage ideas for different types of wine are not far off the red wine storage track. Ideal conditions include cooler temperatures out of sunlight and mid-level humidity.
Storage options for lighter wines such as Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio, Pinot Gris, or sparkling wine include similar ones for red wines.
However, I typically store my white wine at colder temperatures than my reds or Rosé wines. Mostly because I drink them at cooler temperatures and they are easier to serve almost out of the wine cabinet or cooler.
What Temperature to Store and Serve Red Wine or White Wine
Now that we have explored what temperature to store red wine, let’s take a look at serving the wine.
There is no one right temperature, but there is an ideal serving temperature for wines depending on the varietal.
When looking for the sweet spot, the best way to serve red wines is just below room temperature. Full-bodied red wines benefit from being served closer to room temperature. However, room temperature is considered 68° F or 20° C. So serve lighter reds around 60 – 65° F or 16 – 18° C.
I recommend you decant your red wines. This allows the aroma of the wine to bloom or open up while reaching the optimum serving temperature.
You should serve white wines slightly colder than red and sparkling wines at an even lower temperature.
My personal rule of thumb is to take a white wine out of the wine cooler 10 minutes before serving. And I place a room temperature bottle of red into the refrigerator for 10 minutes before serving. I do not enjoy an ice-cold white wine as the flavors are tight and the aromas lacking. I want to enjoy the full spectrum of aromas and flavors from my wine. So, letting them warm up a little bit works for me.
For those who like ice-cold wine, I keep an ice bucket handy to cool their wine bottle down to the temperature they desire.
What Temperature to Store Open Red Wine
So, what temperature to store red wine after it is open?
When stored properly, an opened bottle of red wine can last 2–5 days in a traditional refrigerator. However, an open bottle of white or Rosé wine typically lasts 2–3 days.
Make sure you seal the bottle with a cork or stopper. Then, immediately put it in the fridge to keep the wine at cold or optimal temperatures. This helps slow down the aging process of wine exposed to air.
Red Wine Recommendations
If you are looking for some ideas when shopping for red wine or pairing red wine with food, then read on with these posts:
What is the Best Temperature to Store Red Wine?
Ultimately what temperature to store red wine at your home is a personal preference.
Wine enthusiasts will argue the finer points of optimum storage temperature especially when addressing older wines.
But to keep things simple, when storing any particular wine look for keeping it between 45 – 65 degrees Fahrenheit. Your wines are much more enjoyable in the long run.
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- Between Naps on the Porch, Met Monday #769