You've just bought a bottle of wine that you're not going to drink right away, but you don't want it to spoil. Plus, you also don't know the best way to store it.
It's so frustrating when you buy something and then has to worry about how to store it properly. Not only do you have to make sure that it's in a dark, cool place, but you also need to remember to keep track of the temperature.
Wine is a delicate drink and needs to be stored in the correct conditions in order to keep its flavor profile and taste. If it's not stored correctly, your wine could go bad.
Seven Basic Principles of Keeping Your Wines Safe Before Consumption
Keep it Cool
One of the most important things you can do to keep your wine fresh is to store it in a cool environment. The ideal temperature for storing wine is between 45-65 degrees Fahrenheit.
Let it Not be too Cool
While you do want to keep your wine in a cool place, you don't want to store it in a too cold place. If the temperature dips below freezing, the water inside the wine can expand and break the wine bottle. The average fridge temperature falls well below 45 degrees Fahrenheit to safely store perishable foods, and the lack of moisture can dry out corks, allowing air to seep into the wine bottles and damage the wine.
Don't Store It in Direct Sunlight
Another important rule is not to store your wine in direct sunlight, especially for long-term storage. The UV rays can degrade and prematurely age wine. Light from the household bulb won't damage the wine itself but will fade the labels in the long run. Use incandescent bulbs instead of fluorescent bulbs because they do emit very small amounts of ultraviolet light.
Avoid Temperature Fluctuations
When storing wine, you should also aim to avoid temperature fluctuations. Large swings in temperature can cause the wine to expand and contract, pushing the cork out of the wine bottle or allowing oxygen to seep in. This will cause the wine to spoil and lose its flavor. The ideal storage temperature for wine is between 50-59 degrees Fahrenheit.
You may find that your home doesn't naturally maintain this temperature range. If your home is too warm, the best thing is to look for the best wine coolers and fridges to keep your collection at optimal temperature. Just be sure to avoid any sudden changes in temperature, as this can damage the wine.
You can also find special wine refrigerators that will maintain the ideal storage temperature for your bottles. These units typically have two zones, so you can store both red and white wines at their optimal temperatures.
Vibrations Could Also Damage Your Wine
Wine should also be stored in an area that is free from vibrations. This means keeping it away from washers and dryers, dishwashers, and other appliances that produce vibrations. Some serious wine collectors also fret about the subtle vibrations caused by electronic appliances.
Vibrations can cause the wine to age prematurely, so it's best to avoid them if possible. Significant vibrations can also disturb the sediment in older wines and keep them from settling, making them unpleasantly gritty. Vibrations can damage wine in the long term by speeding up chemical reactions in the liquid.
Store the Bottles Horizontally
You may have seen wine racks that store the bottles vertically, and you might think this is a great space-saving idea. Unfortunately, it's not the best way to store your wine.
Storing wine bottles horizontally keeps the cork in contact with the wine. This prevents the air from getting into the bottle and ruining the wine.
Consider the Humidity
Wine needs to be stored in an environment with the right humidity. If it's too humid, the labels on the bottles can become moldy and unreadable. If it's not humid enough, the corks can dry out and allow air to enter the bottle, ruining the wine.
The ideal humidity level for storing wine is between 50% and 70%. You can buy a hygrometer to measure the humidity level in your wine cooler. Or, you can use a simple test: put a piece of wood in the cooler. If it's too dry, the wood will crack. If it's too humid, the wood will mold.
Ideal Wine Serving Temperature
All wines can be stored in the same temperature range, but they must be served at different temperatures. Some wines taste better at room temperature, so you'll need to warm them, while others taste better when chilled. For example, a dual zone wine fridge uses independently two controlled sections of different temperatures.
This means you can keep one section at serving temperature for reds and one for serving temperature for whites. Wine collectors may even use one section for long term wine storage and one section for serving wines.
Red Wine Serving Temperature
You should serve red wines at room temperature. When your liquid is warmer, it exposes all the nutty and fruity flavors of red wine. If you don't have a wine fridge to keep your wine at this temperature, you can chill the wine for thirty minutes in your standard fridge or warm it for half an hour if it was kept in a refrigerator.
White Wine and Rose Wines Serving Temperature
Serve white wines chilled. Chilled white wine will have a more floral aroma and taste less sweet than if it were served at room temperature. If you don't have a wine fridge to keep your wine at this temperature, you can chill the wine for thirty minutes in your standard fridge. These wines are best stored in dual zone wine coolers that work for both types of wine.
Sparkling Wines Serving Temperature
The serving temperature of most sparkling wines coincides with the serving temperature of champagne. If you don't have a wine fridge, never chill it in the freezer, as the bubbles can cause the bottle to shatter. You can chill the bottle in a wine bucket or cool it for thirty minutes in your fridge.
Avoid serving champagne in pre-chilled glasses, as the cold glass will alter the aromas and flavor of your wine.
The Ideal Wine Refrigerator Temperature
Single Zone Wine Fridge Temperature Settings
A single zone wine is only capable of keeping all of the wine at one set temperature. The ideal temperature for a single zone wine fridge is 53.6 degrees to 62.7 degrees Fahrenheit. This is the ideal storage temperature for all wines, making it easy to chill or warm up a bottle depending on the type you're enjoying.
Dual Zone Wine Fridge Temperature Settings
A dual zone wine fridge has two compartments that can be set to two different temperatures. This is ideal for those who want to store both red and white wines, as each type should be stored at a different temperature. The ideal temperature settings for a dual zone wine fridge are 53.6 to 57.2 degrees Fahrenheit for the upper compartment (for red wine) and 49-55 degrees Fahrenheit.
Compressor Wine Coolers versus Thermoelectric Wine Coolers
You also need to consider what type of wine fridge you want. There are three main types: compressor and thermoelectric wine coolers. Compressor wine coolers use a refrigerant to cool the air inside the refrigerator, while thermoelectric wine coolers use electricity to cool the air.
Here's the information to help you remember the right temperatures for your wines:
- Madeira, Vintage Port 66.2 degrees Fahrenheit
- Shiraz, Bordeaux 64.4 degrees Fahrenheit
- Cabernet, Red Burgundy 62.6 degrees Fahrenheit
- Pinot Noir, Rioja 60.8 degrees Fahrenheit
- White Zinfandel, Chianti 59 degrees Fahrenheit
- Rose, Beaujolais 53.6 degrees Fahrenheit
- Sparkling and dessert wines 44.6 degrees Fahrenheit
- Riesling 46.4 degrees Fahrenheit
- Chardonnay 48.2 degrees Fahrenheit
- Sauternes, Viognier 51.8 degrees Fahrenheit
- Full bodied red wines 66-67 degrees Fahrenheit
FAQs on the Temperature to Keep Your Wine Cooler
At what temperature should wine be stored in a wine cooler?
The ideal temperature for storing wine is between 50 and 55 degrees Fahrenheit. However, most red wines taste best when served at slightly warmer temperatures, between 60 and 65 degrees Fahrenheit.
Can I keep the red and white wine in the same wine cooler? And at what temperature?
It is not recommended to store red and white wines in the same wine cooler. White wines are best stored at a temperature of 50-55 degrees Fahrenheit, while red wines should be stored at a temperature of 60-65 degrees Fahrenheit. However, if you have a dual zone wine fridge, you can keep red at a slightly higher temperature and whites at a lower temperature.
What temperature should white wine be stored in a wine cooler?
If you drink white wines, set a zone at a storage temperature between 53.6 to 57.2 degrees Fahrenheit and the other zone at a lower serving temperature between 49 to 55 degrees Fahrenheit.
Final Thought on the Temperature to Keep Your Wine Cooler
Investing in a wine fridge is a great way to keep your wine collection at the right storage temperature. If you have a large collection, consider investing in a dual zone wine cooler so that you can store both red and white wines at their optimal temperatures. This way, you'll enjoy your wine collection for years to come.