If you’re planning to serve wine at home, there are a few basics that can help your red or white look and taste its best. While you should always check the label for specific storage and serving instructions, most wines can be cared for using the following tips:
What you’ll need to get started
Storage unit, such as a wine fridge, beverage cooler or undercounter wine cellar
Replacement corks or wine stoppers
Step 1: Determine length of storage
Storage temperatures can be classified in two segments: long-term storage before wine consumption and short-term storage before serving. Long-term storage temperatures are the same for all wines while serving temperatures vary based on wine types. Generally, if a wine is being stored for longer than six months, storage is usually considered long-term. For periods of time shorter than six months, the wine can be placed in short-term storage.
Step 2: Choose a storage temperature
The optimal long-term storage temperature for wine should be between 50 and 55 degrees Fahrenheit to preserve its flavor and aroma. For short-term storage of wine before serving, the ideal storage temperature is between 50 and 59 degrees Fahrenheit, depending on the type of wine. Avoid an area where temperatures fluctuate, and never store your wine below 40 degrees Fahrenheit or above 68 degrees Fahrenheit.
These temperatures can interfere with the aging process and cause your wines to lose their flavors or become vinegary. Never store wine in a freezer – it could cause it to oxidize, creating odd flavors. Freezing could also cause the bottle to leak (or even explode, in the case of sparkling wine or champagne).
At what temperature should red wine be stored?
The ideal red wine storage temperature depends on the type of red wine you’re drinking. Lighter red wines like a Schiava or Pinot Noir should have a cooler storage temperature between 60 and 65 degrees Fahrenheit. Heavier varieties such as Malbec or Syrah can be stored at a warmer range, 63 and 68 degrees Fahrenheit.
At what temperature should white wine be stored?
White wine storage temperatures are cooler than reds, but they also vary depending on their particular variety. Bright or tart white wines like Sauvignon Blanc or Gewürztraminer should be stored at a cool 48 and 52 degrees Fahrenheit. If you have a richer, more mature white like an aged Chardonnay, store it between 58 and 62 degrees Fahrenheit.
At what temperature should rose wine be stored?
Like white wine, rose wines should be served at a relatively low temperature. As such, aim to keep these wines at around 50 degrees Fahrenheit to preserve their color and flavor.
At what temperature should sparkling wine be stored?
Sparkling wines should be stored within a specific temperature range whether they’re red or white – between 40 and 50 degrees Fahrenheit.
Step 3: Store wine in a dark place
Make sure your wine stays in a dark, quiet place. As a wine ages, it develops natural sediments that are an integral part of the aging process. UV light and vibrations can damage and disturb this sediment, which can cause a wine’s flavors to develop improperly.
Step 4: Set a consistent humidity level
Try to ensure that your wine storage area isn’t too dry or too humid. Dry conditions can adversely affect corks, which could lead them to become crumbly or allow air to enter the bottles. While some humidity is good for corks, too much could cause bottle labels to peel off. Ideally, aim for a humidity level between 60 and 68 percent.
Step 5: Place wine horizontally
Store your wine horizontally. This keeps the cork stoppers moist, which is vital for long-term storage. When a cork dries out, it can allow air to enter the bottle and prematurely age your wine. Wine bottles that use screw top closures are an exception – they can be stored upright, though storing them in a wine rack may improve storage efficiency.