Proper Wine Serving Temperatures

Proper Serving Temperatures

Tis the season for entertaining! But, are you getting the most out of your wine for you and your guests? If you’re pulling the bottle straight from the refrigerator or off your countertop, you are missing out on so many of the aromatics that make wine so beautiful, complex and compelling.

Serving wine at the wrong temperature can greatly affect your overall experience. For example, a red wine served at room temperature or warmer can exacerbate the alcohol sensation and dull the layers of flavors. This can lead to that burning sensation in your throat. Not a pleasurable sensation! The term room temperature dates back to a time when the room temperature was actually 55-60 degrees (the average wine cellar temperature today).

A white wine served too cold will mute the vibrant fruit and floral aromas. Some restaurants are famous for serving wine way too cold! Oftentimes, I feel as if I am having a glass of lemon water.  Has the bottle been open too long? Are they trying to hide flaws? Maybe. But more often than not, it’s a simple lack of knowledge.

So what is the proper serving temperature? This varies greatly between different varietals. This is a general guideline from the Wine Spirit & Education Trust (WSET).

  • Sparkling: 43-50°F
  • Light Whites: 45-50°F
  • Medium/Full Bodied Whites: 50-55°F
  • Light Bodied Reds: 55°F
  • Medium/Full-Bodied Reds: 59-64°F

20/20 Rule 

If you don’t have sophisticated wine storage, don’t sweat it! Just remember the 20/20 rule! Remove your white wine from the refrigerator 20 minutes before you serve it and place the red wine in the refrigerator 20 minutes before you serve it. If you are decanting the red wine, you can still place it in the refrigerator.  When in doubt, I would recommend serving your wine on the cooler side as it will warm up pretty quickly.

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