If you’re a wino, you’re not alone. The United States is, by far, the largest consumer of wine out of all of the countries in the world. Here, 4.3 billion bottles are sold annually — that’s a lot of wine.
Of course, you don’t just want to drink your wine — you want to enjoy it as it’s meant to be enjoyed. That means knowing the right wine temperature for all of your bottles. And, here’s a little secret: not all wines should be stored in the same conditions.
Here’s what you need to know about storing your tipple of choice. Turns out, the temperature is only part of the equation.
Wine Temperature: It Depends on the Color
There’s no one-size-fits-all number when it comes to properly store your wine. Different varieties of grapes will require slightly different storage temperatures to ensure they age as intended.
For your sparkling bottles and light dry white wine, temperature should hover between 40 and 50 degrees. Next up, you have your full-bodied white wines, as well as reds that have a lighter, fruitier flavor. They store best at temperatures between 50 and 60 degrees.
And then, you have your darkest of grapes to consider. Red wine temperature ranges from 60 to 65 degrees. Keep your ports and full-bodied reds in containers that maintain such a climate.
Some people may not be able to customize their wine storage area to each variety of wine. In that case, remember this: 55 degrees Fahrenheit is considered the magic storage number by experts. You can use this benchmark if you plan to store wines for longer than six months, too — it will keep all varieties preserved for as long as you need.
On that note, you might wonder where you can keep your wine so that it will maintain a consistent temperature. Here’s what experts say.
Other Storage Factors to Consider
You can’t put your prized wine bottles on a rack in the kitchen or dining room. They will be too warm, in most cases.
A wine and beverage fridge could be the solution for your bottles. Many of these chillers come with adjustable temperatures on each shelf. That means you can have some extra-cool containers for your dry whites, and then something a bit warmer for your full-bodied whites, and so on.
If your home has a basement, you could dedicate a corner of it to wine storage. Basements tend to be cooler than the rest of the house. But it’s not just the temperature that makes it an appealing area in which to keep your bottles.
Keep Wines in the Dark
This underground area of your home won’t get as much light as the upstairs floors. In fact, some corners may be completely dark — and that’s where your wine will thrive.
Most colored glass bottles have built-in UV protection, but that doesn’t mean they should be placed in direct light. The sun’s rays can break down wines and change their flavor. White wine is most susceptible to this type of damage, so keep it somewhere shadowy for the best and brightest taste.
Leave It Alone
You’ve probably tossed a few bottles of wine into your main refrigerator for storage. It makes sense — they stay chilled in there and, when the door’s closed, they’re in the dark. But there’s a problem with this setup: your wine will move around a lot more than you think.
Let’s say you put your wine bottle on the door. Every time it’s opened and close, the wine will move around. Even if you lay your wine on a shelf, it’ll vibrate as the appliance churns cool air into the fridge.
This near-constant movement will ruin the taste of your wine. Red wines especially need to stay still so that their sediments will settle. So, find a spot where your wine will remain still until, of course, it’s time for you to pop the cork.
Lay It On Its Side
On that note, you might think that storing your wine bottles upright makes the most sense, especially in the fridge. But wine bottles are meant to lay on their sides until you’re ready to drink them.
If the wine remains in contact with the cork, then the porous material remains in its fullest, roundest shape. This is imperative in keeping the cork tight and preventing oxygen from getting into your bottle. Oxygen is, of course, your wine’s biggest enemy: it can ruin the flavor just as much as vibration and sunlight.
So, whether you have a wine fridge or a cool, dark basement corner, make sure your wines rest there on their sides until it’s time to drink.
Serving Your Wine
Finally, when it’s time to drink, you’ll want to adjust your wine’s temperature a bit. The right temperature varies by type of wine.
For example, if you’ve ever ordered a sparkling white wine at a restaurant, then it has probably arrived on ice. That’s because these wines are meant to be enjoyed at near-freezing temperatures: anywhere between 38 and 45 degrees.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, you have full-bodied reds, which are only slightly cooled before service. They are at their best between 60 and 68 degrees.
Proper storage plus the correct serving temperature will ensure that your beloved wine tastes just as it’s meant to. So, make a point to perfect both elements for maximum enjoyment.
Store Your Wine Like a Pro
Now you know just how important wine temperature when it comes to enjoying your favorite glass of wine. It’s not just about the temperature at which you serve your grapes, either. Storing it in the right environment will ensure it has the rich, complex flavor you love.
Once that’s done, all you have left to do is grab your bottle of choice, uncork it and enjoy. With your stemmed glass in hand, browse our online magazine for some more healthy lifestyle tips!