A little know-how goes a long way in getting the best flavor from your wine.

Jessica Ball, M.S., R.D.
July 07, 2020
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It is no secret that we love wine, in all colors, flavors and forms. Especially as the weather is warming outside, it can be worth a little extra time and attention to how you store and serve your wines. Factors, like serving wine at its ideal temperature, can help you get the maximum amount of flavor for your bottle. We talked with Breana Killeen, M.P.H, R.D., Test Kitchen Manager at EatingWell and a Wine Spirit & Education Trust trained sommelier, for more information on how to get the most out of your wine all summer long.

Many people store unopened bottles of wine on the counter or at room temperature, unless you are lucky enough to have a wine fridge, wine cellar at home. But bringing down the temps of your wine before enjoying will help make every sip better.

"[Drinking] wine at the suggested temperature allows for the ideal flavors to be prominent instead of dulled, from being too cold, or overly fruity or sweet, from being too hot," Killeen added, "I often think of it like coffee. When coffee gets cold, the bitter flavors come out instead of the smoothness when it's hot."

What Temp Should You Actually Keep Your Wine?

The answer to this question varies based on a variety of factors, primarily what type of wine you will be enjoying. As a general rule, lighter bodied white wines and sparkling wines should be enjoyed at a cooler temperature than fuller bodied red wines.

In general, aim to serve sparkling wine ice cold, around 40 to 50ºF. This is close to refrigeration temperatures, so bubbly bottles can be stored in the fridge and removed shortly before serving. Placing a bottle in a bucket of ice water for at least 30 minutes before serving should cool it down just right. If you can, keep in the ice bucket while serving.

White wines and rosés should be served cold but not ice cold, between 50 and 60ºF. These bottles can be left in the fridge for several hours to achieve this; however, they should be removed from the fridge before opening and not served over ice. If you are in a time crunch, try putting a room temperature bottle in the freezer for no more than 30 minutes to cool it quickly for your enjoyment.

On the other hand, red wines should be served cooled, but not cold, at between 60 and 70ºF. This allows all of the wines flavors to be fresh and apparent upon serving. Place a bottle in the fridge for about an hour before serving, or in the freezer for 15 minutes at home. Let the wine sit on the table and slowly warm as you drink.

At the end of the day, exactly how chilled your wine is when it tastes the best is based on personal preference, so these general guidelines will get you off to a good start. Cooling down a bottle can take some time, so be sure to plan ahead before your next happy hour. For more, check out these other ways to keep your wine cool all summer long.