Wine coolers, also known as beverage coolers and wine fridges, are specifically designed to chill wine at the ideal temperature.
Today, we’ll show you how to set your wine cooler temperature for a variety of wines so you have a handy reference tool when you’re building up your collection.
Before we dive deeper into categorizing wine storage, it’s time for some bare basics first…
Some Wine Storage Basics
You should typically store red wine at room temperature (60F to 65F). This is a rule of thumb to which there are exceptions. We’ll outline these in full below.
White wines and rosés are normally chilled slightly to between 50F and 60F. While chilled, this is substantially warmer than most kitchen fridges. Regular refrigerators usually chill between 36F and 40F. This will end up dulling some of the flavor of your wine.
With sparkling wines, grab the ice bucket and chill them ice-cold.
How about if you’re going for long-term storage, though? Well, most wine experts recommend all types of wines are stored at 55F. This will give you the ideal temperature – much like you’d find in a wine cellar – so you can keep your wine over the long-term.
So far, so good.
Now, before we break down all wines by type along with the temperature you need to chill them, how do you actually set the temperature in your cooler?
How To Set Wine Cooler Temperature
If you have a dual-zone wine cooler, one method is to create one cooling zone at 50F for your whites with the other side dedicated to reds and set at 60F.
All you need to do is push a button or twist a dial, depending on your cooler.
Alternatively, you could set one zone to cool at 55F and reserve this for long-term storage. You could manipulate the temperature in the second zone so it serves as a chilling pad for the wines you’re about to serve.
With a single-zone wine cooler, you’ll obviously be more limited. Selecting the temperature is once again a matter of push-button ease.
Get creative and use your wine cooler to build the storage environment of your dreams.
Best Temperatures for Red and White Wines
- Antique Reds and Fortified Wines
- Full-Bodied Reds
- Medium-Bodied Reds
- Light-Bodied Reds and Rosés
- Full-Bodied Whites and Zinfandel
- Medium-Bodied Whites
- Light-Bodied Whites
- Dessert Wines and Sparling Wines
Antique Reds and Fortified Wines
Any fortified wine like sherry or port has a higher alcohol content with liquor added. Regardless of whether these fortified wines are sweet or dry, they should typically be consumed quite warm.
- Store at 66F to 67F
The richest and deepest red wines are served warm. This allows your palate to experience the texture and complexity of the wine.
From Cabernet, Barolo, and Burgundy to Shiraz, Bordeaux, and red Zinfandel, these full-bodied reds should never be overchilled.
- Store at 64F to 65F
Do you prefer your red wines brighter and lighter? If so, you’ll need to store them at lower temperatures but why is this?
Well, as the acidity and fruitiness of the wine increases, so the wine benefits from additional chilling.
Common medium-bodied reds include Rioja, Malbec, and Merlot.
- Store at 60F to 62F
Light-Bodied Reds and Rosés
Don’t be confused by the term light-bodied reds. These wines are not paler in color. The lightness refers to the texture and these wines are easy to drink and pair with a wide range of food.
Light-bodied red and rosés are best consumed cooler than room temperature. These wines make ideal summertime beverages.
So, if you fancy some Pinot Noir, Beaujolais, or Chianti, keep them cooled before serving. Don’t fall for the old myth that all red needs serving at room temperature. That’s not always the case.
- Store at 55F to 60F
Full-Bodied Whites and White Zinfandel
The white version of Zinfandel, along with Chardonnay, Sauternes, and Montrachet whites all respond well to being served slightly warmer than room temperature.
Again, this runs counter to the common perception that all whites need to be rigorously chilled. There are exceptions like full-bodied white wines.
- Store at 52F to 55F
Sweet and dry medium-bodied whites have slightly less alcohol than fuller-bodied whites. This allows you to chill these wines more without blunting the flavor.
Riesling and Chablis taste better cooler.
- Store at 50F
Light and remarkably refreshing, these wines are ideal served cold. This intensifies the crisp and bright flavors wonderfully.
Chill your Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Grigio to the max then relax with your feet up.
- Store at 46F to 48F
Dessert Wines and Sparkling Wines
Champagnes and dessert wines should be served icy cold to bring out the rich sweetness to the fullest.
- Store at 40F to 45F
Best Practice for Wine Storage
To round out, we’ll summarize some simple pointers to get the most from your wine storage.
- Do not store wine in a regular kitchen refrigerator
- Keep wine away from anything with a strong smell
- Protect your wine from UV light
- Ensure your wine is not exposed to too much noise or vibration. This can agitate the sediment in the wine and spoil the flavors
- Humidity levels should not exceed 70% or this could impair the wine
We hope you’re now absolutely clear on the best temperatures to store all your wines for the long haul. You should also know exactly what temperatures to serve them at.
Coolers are easy to adjust and you should find you have the optimum cooling environment to keep your precious investment save ready to crack open and savor at its very best.
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