Important Tips on Wine Serving Temperatures


It is important to serve wine at the correct temperature, failing to do so will spoil the overall tasting experience and enjoyment of the wine. Some wines should be served at different temperatures to others, but if you do not know this, how can you get it right?

It should be remembered that any wine served too cold will lack flavour and character as well as appearing dull and lifeless; that said, fewer faults with the wine can be detected when it is over chilled. To get the best out of the wine tasting experience your palate wants to be able to analyze and decipher all aromas, flavours and nuances in the wine which are only released at their optimum temperatures.

It is known that red wines are served at slightly higher temperatures than white wines, this is due to the following:

  1. White wines usually contain higher acidity levels which give them a citrus freshness and tang, and this character is enhanced by cooling the wine down a little.

  2. Red wine contains less acidity and more tannin. The reduced acid level means that the wine will be 'softer' while at the same time the tannin will impart a bitterness - warm this up and the wine will appear to be more mellow and subtle.

Wine Temperature Do's and Don'ts

  • Don't put the bottle of wine into the freezer for a 'quick' chill.
  • Don't put the bottle of wine near a heat source to raise it's temperature.
  • Don't overheat red wine otherwise it will have a cooked taste and bring the alcohol flavour to the fore which is undesirable.
  • Do store your wines in a cellar or basement where there is no fluctuation of temperature from the winter through to the summer.
  • Do use an ice bucket, especially at formal occasions. Presentation is well worth the effort.
  • Do cool white wines for a short while only in the fridge, no more than 20 minutes.

Nowadays for serving a red wine, the term 'room temperature' would be too warm as modern households tend to keep the heat at between 66°F and 70°F, while for white wines, refrigerators are set too cold at 38°F to 40°F. The obvious solution is to use a simple wine thermometer or specialized equipment.

A Guide for Optimum Drinking Temperatures (see chart below)

  • For more tannic and aromatic red wines: 62-64°F
  • Red Bordeaux a little cooler: 61-64°F
  • Fine Pinot Noir: 58-61°F
  • Ordinary basic red wine: 54-56°F
  • A quality dessert wine should be cooler still without affecting its sweetness: 46-48°F
  • White wine: 42-46°F
  • Champagne and sparkling wine is coolest of all which allows it to retain its bubbles longer: 40-44°F.

Another important fact is to use the wine immediately it is opened but if you are unable to finish a bottle, store it correctly so that you minimise the chance of oxidation (deterioration from air contact) occurring.

By far the best way to ensure your wine remains in good condition is to have a wine cellar, these are available from a small modular type to multi-temperature cabinets. If you are lucky enough to have a basement or underground cellar whose temperature remains stable, then you have no problem about wine storage.

Wines that have been well looked after and served at the correct temperature will totally enhance your drinking experience. Remember, the wine grower and winemaker have gone to a lot of trouble in the growing and making of the wine to get it to you in tip top condition - don't blow it at the last stage!

For information on wine cellars visit

Article Source: Important Tips on Wine Serving Temperatures

By Rob Hemphill


Wine Temperature Chart

Serving & Storing Wine Temperatures


Temp °F

Temp °C

wine temperature Warm Bath 100° 39° red wine glass
Vintage Port 66° 19°
Bordeaux, Shiraz 64° 18°
Cabernet, Red Burgundy 63° 17°
Pinot Noir, Rioja 61° 16°
Chianti, Zinfandel 59° 15°
Tawny/NV Port, Madeira 57° 14°
Ideal storage for all wines 55° 13°
Beaujolais, Rosé 54° 12°
Sauternes, Voignier 52° 11° red wine glass
Chardonnay 48°
Riesling 47°
Champagne 45°
Ice Wines/Eiswein 43°
Asti Spumante 41°
Fridge Temperature 35°
Water Freezes 32°
Freezer Temperature -18°



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