Inquiring Minds NEED to Know…

Wine Bottles

It’s been at the top of a lot of our readers lists and it is finally time to set the record straight on the question….should you or should you not chill red wine?

Before we go too in-depth into the do’s and don’ts of the Wine World Temperatures let us start by telling you that personal preference trumps all. Period.  If you like your red wine cooler, then drink it cool; if you like wine that is not cool then we are not here to stop you from enjoying it the way you like it. However, if you are interested in what is dubbed as the proper protocol for red wine temperatures then you are in luck because we have the answers for you.

First, it is important to know that drinking red wine at “room temperature” is somewhat of an old adage that was developed sometime between the beginning of civilization and the invention of central heating and air conditioning. When the average house was closer to 55 degrees in the earlier days the present day average temperature in our houses are closer to 70 degrees. So unless you live in what the majority of us would consider a “cold” house eliminate the phrase “room temperature” when referring to red wine.

Enjoying Wine at Home

It is also important to know that as the wine gets warmer (65 degrees or more), all of the imperfections of the wine emerge. If you are enjoying red wine at home and want to enjoy it to its fullest potential it is recommended that you keep it stored in a cool place like the cellar or basement. If a cellar or basement is not an option then try putting it in the refrigerator about 15-20 minutes before enjoying.

Enjoying Wine at a Restaurant

What happens if the restaurant you are patronizing doesn’t adhere to the same wine temperature standards?  The first thing to do when a waiter presents the wine is to hold the bottle in your hands and more or less “take its temperature”. It should feel slightly cool, but not cold. If the wine bottle feels warm request to put it in an ice bucket for 10 minutes to cool it down.

Enjoying the Perfect Temperature

If you over-chill the wine there is no need to worry. Wines will warm on their own once poured or you can lightly roll the glass of wine in the palm of your hands.  Remember it is always better to have a wine that is too chilled rather than too warm.

More of a numbers person? Below are the basic temperatures to enjoy all different styles of wine to their fullest potential:

  • Full Bodied Red Wines: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Zinfandel, Syrah = 55°F to 60°F
  • Lesser-Bodied Red Wines: Rose = 46°F to 55°F
  • Full-Bodied White Wines: Beaujolais, Chardonnay, Viognier, Riesling = 46°F to 5o°F
  • Lesser Bodied White Wines: Vinho Verdhe, Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc, Dessert Wines = 43°F to 50°F
  • Champagne and Ice Wine = 43°F to 46°F

So what is your personal preference in wine temperature? On the cooler side or slightly warmer? Whatever style wine or wine temperature tops your list don’t forget to preserve your smile with WineStraws when sipping away…because when you do find that perfect wine we want you to be smiling and showcasing those beautiful pearly whites.


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