A Brief Summary of Wine Serving Temperatures

  • Every style of wine has its preferred serving temperature.
  • Red wines and some fortified wines are better at cellar or room temperature.
  • White wines and roses are better chilled.
  • Most dessert wines taste better served as cold.
  • There are easy ways to store your wine to preserve its temperature.
  • You can cool your wine or make it warmer with a few simple tricks.

Have you ever ordered a glass of wine at a restaurant or bar, only to get a glass that’s too warm or too cold? Serving wine at the wrong temperature can ruin your tasting experience. 

This is why it’s important for everyone serving wine to know about its ideal serving temperature. No matter if you’re a sommelier or a home drinker, knowing what temperature works best for your wine is incredibly useful. 

Fortunately, there are a few easy tricks that you can follow to control the temperature you serve your wine. From storing it properly to ice buckets and decanters, these easy-to-follow steps will make serving wine at the right temperature a breeze. 

Best Temperatures to Serve Wine

Each style of wine has its own sweet spot for the perfect serving temperature. Some wines taste and smell amazing cold, while others like to be served slightly warmer. 

wine in an ice bucket

No matter what style of wine you like to drink, enjoying it at the perfect temperature can turn an average wine into a special wine. Below are recommended serving temperatures for several styles of wine so you can enjoy the perfect pour each time. 

Sparkling (38° to 45° F)

Sparkling wines such as champagne, cava, and prosecco taste amazing on the ice-cold end of the spectrum. Their fruity and sometimes earthy aromas, bracing acidity, and refreshing bubbles will shine through your glass when they’re nice and crisp. 

Light Bodied Whites (40° to 45° F)

Like sparkling wines, these light-bodied white wines love to be served extra cold. These wines often have tight acidity, low alcohol, and refreshing aromas that brighten up when they’re below 45° F. 

Examples of these wines include riesling, sauvignon blanc, and pinot gris. If a wine has a little sweetness such as an off-dry riesling, chenin blanc, or a gewürztraminer, they will be delicious at this temperature. 

Full Bodied Whites and White Blends (45° to 55° F)

White wines with a little more alcohol and body will benefit from being served a little warmer than their racy light-bodied cousins. This is because their aromatics are heightened with just the right amount of warmth. Any warmer and they may be too overpowering and any colder, they will lose their character and depth. 

Some examples of these wines include white Bordeaux, oaked chardonnay, viognier, and many white Rhone blends. These wines sometimes have intense secondary aromas that are delicious when served at this temperature. 

Rosé (45° to 55° F)

Similar to full-bodied whites, rosé is delicious when served crisp but not too cold. With its soft floral notes, refreshing red fruit aromas, and satisfying acidity, rose served cold can be one of the most satisfying wine experiences you can have. 

Light Bodied Reds (55° to 60° F)

Light bodied reds such as a cold-climate pinot noir, gamay, and St. Laurent will all taste exceptionally well at around 55° to 60° F. These wines have refreshing acidity and subtle aromas that benefit from a little chill. 

Medium Bodied Reds (60° to 65°)

Medium bodied reds are superb at a cooler room temperature. With their tannins and complex primary and secondary aromas, they shine between 60° and 65° F. 

Examples of medium-bodied red wines include malbec, California pinot noir, cabernet franc, and grenache. If you serve these wines too cold, they will lose a lot of their delicious aromas. Too warm and their tannins and alcohol will overpower their more subtle flavors and aromas. 

Full Bodied Reds (65° to 68°)

These bold and beautiful wines benefit from being served at room temperature. Examples of these wines include cabernet sauvignon, Bordeaux blends, nebbiolo, and sangiovese. Like medium bodied reds, it’s important not to serve these wines too cold or too warm. 

Fortified Wines (65° to 68°)

Similar to full-bodied reds, fortified wines such as port, sherry, or vermouth taste amazing when served at room temperature. At this temperature, their alcohol aromas, fruitiness, and more unique secondary aromas balance perfectly. 

How to Store Your Wine to Keep the Right Temperature

For most people, once a wine arrives in the kitchen, it either goes in the fridge if it’s white or on the counter if it’s red. Very few people ever question if they’re serving their wine at the right temperature or not. 

The best way to control your wine’s temperature is by storing it correctly. For red wines or aged whites, store them in a cool dark place with no sunlight or changes in temperature. Places like a cellar, basement, or, if you have one, an automated wine cellar, work the best.  

wine storage cooler

If you have a white wine or a sparkling wine that you want to drink right away, throw them in the fridge right away. After about three to four hours, your wine should be close to 45° F, the ideal temperature for white wine. 

Red wine can be kept in the fridge for about an hour to get it below 60° if it’s a light-bodied red such as pinot noir. However, fuller bodied reds will work perfectly stored in a cool dark place. Just make sure that the temperature of where you’re storing your wine never exceeds 70° F. 

Best Ways to Control Your Wine’s Temperature

Once you’re ready to drink your wine, it should be at the right temperature if you stored it properly, but sometimes that’s easier said than done. Fortunately, there are a few trusted and easy methods for either warming or cooling your wine. 

If you have a white wine or sparkling wine you need to cool down, nothing works better than an ice bucket. Simply fill a stainless steel bucket with ice and cold water and rest your wine inside for around 15 to 30 minutes. 

If you don’t have an ice bucket or ice, just place your bottle in the freezer. This will chill it within 30 minutes. Make sure not to forget your wine because your wine will eventually freeze and push its cork out. 

To warm a bottle of wine, all you need to do is reach for your decanter. Gently pour your wine into the decanter and wait around 30 minutes, depending on how chilled your wine is. 

Always remember that once you pour your wine in a glass, it will warm up from your body heat and from being exposed to the air. That’s why you should always serve wine at a slightly lower temperature. 

Things Not to do When Storing Wine

Even if you know how to store wine correctly, it’s important to know what not to do as well. This way, you’ll avoid a lot of the common mistakes people make when it comes to storing your wine. 

The first thing to consider is that wine is sensitive to temperature. If the temperature changes or is too hot or cold, the wine inside your bottle will change and potentially become ruined. 

wine bottles lying horizontally

Below are a few common but important things never to do when storing your wine. 

  • Never expose your wine bottle to the sun. 
  • Never store your wine in the kitchen because of the fluctuating temperatures.
  • Do not leave your wine in the freezer for over 45 minutes. 
  • Never store your wine next to a heater 
  • Never store your wine in a place that can freeze

By following these simple rules, you will avoid the most common issues with wine storage. And, it will make regulating your wine’s temperature even easier. 

Why Temperature Matters

Serving your wine at the right temperature will have a huge impact on your wine-drinking experience. Ultimately, the right temperature depends on your taste. 

By storing your wine properly, it’s easier to maintain its temperature before serving. However, if you’re in a pinch, all you need is an ice bucket with ice, or a decanter. 

wine glass with city skyline in the background

If you’ve ever tasted a soda or beer at room temperature or warmer, then you already know the importance of temperature when drinking wine. When wine is served at the perfect temperature, it will be the perfect expression of itself. 

Ultimately, don’t be afraid to experiment at home. The more you drink and share wine with friends, the more you’ll understand how to store and serve your wine, so you can enjoy it at the perfect temperature every time.