The average wine storage temperature for all varieties of wine is 55° F (~13° C), but that does not mean it is the optimal temperature to store your wine. The temperature wine is stored at depends on the type of wine and how long you are storing it.
Storage conditions of wine can dull the flavor or even feel like it is stinging your tongue. Proper wine storage temperatures can keep wine from aging too fast, and give your bottles a bit more longevity.
Most of us don’t have our own wine cellars, so we’ve put together some basics and best practices for storing your wine collection at home.
Why Does Wine Storage Temperature Matter?
Wine is a delicate and intricate drink. Winemakers pour themselves into creating intriguing and flavorful wines, and temperatures plays an important role in preserving the intended taste and aroma.
Phenolic compounds in wine affect its taste, color, and mouthfeel. As wine ages these compounds break apart, attach to each other, and blend together. Storing your wine at improper temperatures can cause the wine to age too quickly, or even foster bacteria.
Temperature fluctuations cause contraction and expansion of the wine, leading to premature aging and wine faults. If you like the added bonus of antioxidants in wine, note that improperly storing your bottles of wine causes antioxidant loss too. We’ll get into how to store each type of wine below.
Red Wine Storage
We’ve been conditioned to think that red wines should be stored at room temperature, but is that really the case? What is the best storage temperature for red wine? In general, red wines should be stored between 55-65° Fahrenheit (13-18° Celsius).
If you look at your thermostat, chances are “room temperature” is a bit warmer than that in your home. If you’re storing wine in the kitchen, it’ll be even warmer than that while you’re cooking.
Red wine's ideal temperatures are influenced by the color of the wine. If your storage area is on the counter, your full-bodied, vintage port may be ok, but the counter may not be providing the best temperature for your Pinot Noir and other lighter reds. Be careful when chilling your reds too cold or you’ll get an abundance of bitter flavor from the tannins.
- 60-65° F (16-19° C) for dark reds such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Bordeaux, Shiraz, and Zinfandel
- 55-60° F (12-16° C) for medium bodied reds like Rioja, Burgundy, Malbecs, and Merlot
White Wine Storage
With white wines we run into the opposite problem as reds, we know they should be chilled, but how cold is too cold for wine storage? The ideal storage for white wines should not fall too far below 45°F (7° C).
Storing white wine much colder than that will result in flavor loss and encourage a chemical reaction to cause tartrate crystals. While the crystals are harmless, they will create a sediment that can ruin the mouthfeel.
White wine’s storage conditions aren’t determined by their color as much as the reds, but rather their dryness versus sweetness. It might take a little Wine 101 knowledge to know which types fall in which category, but we’ve got you covered:
- 50-55° F (10-12° C) for dry whites like Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, and Vinho Verde
- 45-55° F (7-10° C) for sweet white wines like Riesling, Pinot Grigio, and Gewürztraminer
Rosé Wine Storage
Rosé is a type of wine that doesn’t incorporate enough of the grape skin color to qualify as a red wine. It is not a mix of red and wine wines, but the right temperature for rosé does fall right in the middle of the two. While the ideal Rosé serving temperature is chilled, storing and serving this wine too cold can stifle its bouquet.
- 50-55° F (10-12° C) for rosé and very light reds like White Zinfandel.
Sparkling Wine Storage
Sparkling wines, like champagne, are stored the coldest. However, even a common household refrigerator is still kept too cold on average for long-term storage of these bubbles. Storing wine too cold causes expansion and that combined with the pressure from the carbonation has the potential to loosen the cork, causing oxidation.
If you’re storing your fizzy wines for a longer period of time make sure they’re at the right temperature.
- 40-45° F (5-7° C) for Champagnes, Prosecco, Muscat, and even sparkling rosé
The way you store your wine depends on how long you intend to store it. Short-term storage requires a bit more attention to detail than long-term storage. While the wine storage temperature is important, if you are storing a handful of varieties, you can be safe with an average temperature range from the low to mid 50’s.
Can wine be stored at room temperature? You can keep your wine stored at room temperature, and unless you are a sommelier, you probably won’t notice too much of a difference. Wine is subjective when it comes to taste, and we all prefer different flavor notes.
For long-term storage, it is more important to store your wine somewhere with limited temperature fluctuations. Wine cellars also have controlled humidity levels which keep the corks from drying out.
If you’ve gotten serious about collecting bottles from wineries, you can also look into professional wine storage facilities. These facilities usually charge per case of wine and will even have options for insurance or line up buyers for your wine!
Tips for Storing Wine at Home
At home wine storage for the casual collector doesn’t have to be hard, there are plenty of options to choose from. It is important to know all the factors for proper wine storage.
1. Keep your wine in a dark place.
There is a reason why vintage wines come in darker colored bottles! UV rays can damage wine and speed up the aging process.
2. Keep the temperature cool.
Wine will spoil and become “cooked” when it gets over 70 degrees. You don’t want to invest in a nice wine collection only to pop open a bottle of vinegar.
3. Don’t let the temperature fluctuate.
A few degrees here and there isn’t an issue for wine, but extreme swings in temperature can cause seepage or ruin the cork.
4. Pay attention to humidity.
We’ve mentioned that the cork can dry out in very dry conditions, but if the air is too humid, it can also promote mold growth.
5. Store your bottles sideways!
Wine racks serve a purpose other than looking great on the bar! When stored long-term with the wine touching the cork, it helps to prevent the cork drying out.
6. Do Not Disturb
Unless you’ve just won a championship, hold off on shaking the wine. Experts have said that chemical reactions occur when wine vibrates (even from the electronic vibrations in the refrigerator!). It also stirs up sediment in the bottle that can ruin mouthfeel.
7. Don’t let the wine freeze
If you’re storing your wine in the dark garage or basement, be sure it doesn’t get too cold. Freezing wine runs the risk of an explosion of wine slush and glass. If you catch it before that happens, frozen wine also loses some flavor notes.
Store Your Wine Your Way
If you’re a budding connoisseur of the best wines and have the storage space for a collection, it may be worth looking into a wine cooler or wine fridge for long-term wine storage.
For those who just enjoy having a bottle around for company and can’t justify the cost of a wine refrigerator, look into transforming a cupboard into a wine cabinet as long as the wine temperature won’t get too warm. You can even convert an old refrigerator into a wine fridge, if you have one.However you choose to store your bottles, wine lovers who are participating in Surely’s Dry Month Challenge don’t have to cut back on their beverage of choice. Surely non-alcoholic wine is a bottle of perfection, for the dry month or at any time.