Temperature and Wine Storage

Wine temperature is essential to wine storage. It can even be argued that it is the most important factor in proper wine storage, assuming you have quality cork and your storage space is non-drying. However, many new wine collectors don’t actually know what temperature they should be keeping their wine at, let alone how to ensure it stays within the appropriate range.

No need to worry, though, because I am here to tell you everything you need to know about temperature and wine storage. So, let’s start with the most vital question, what temperature should you store wine at?

What Temperature to Store Wine

Most people associated with wine, including collectors and experts, agree that 11 to 13°C is the ideal storage temperature for maturing all wines. The wine develops most harmoniously if stored within this temperature range with little or no fluctuation. For example, a 12°C storage temperature with a fluctuation of about one degree would be considered an ideal storage temperature.

When you think about these temperatures, you will notice that your home, on average, will not keep your wine this cold. Most individuals keep their thermostat set between 18 and 20 degrees, which is out of your ideal wine storage range. So storing your finest Bordeaux and Burgundies in a wine rack in the kitchen probably isn't ideal.

How Temperature Effects Wine

When your wine has been damaged by temperature changes or the result of not storing it in the sweet spot range includes premature aging and changes in flavour/aroma and colour.

Premature or slowed-down aging: If you store your wine at a temperature that is too high, then your wine will age and spoil faster. The opposite is true for wine stored at a temperature that is too low. Your wine will not age at the optimum rate or deteriorate if kept at a too-cold temperature.

Changes in flavour/aroma: If you keep your wine at a temperature outside the wine goldilocks zone, the flavour and aroma of your wine will be negatively affected. A wine that is kept too hot will spoil rapidly, causing your wine to taste and smell foul. On the other hand, if your wine is kept too cold, the tannins and their impact on the evolution of a wine, will not be able to shine through when you drink it.

Colour change: As soon as your wine reaches a too high temperature, it will begin to oxidize. This will lead to a change in color; most commonly, there will be a brown tint on the surface. The browning effect can indicate that your wine has spoiled; unfortunately, it cannot be reversed and will give off sweet, baked, caramel-esque flavours.

How to Keep Your Wine at the Right Temperature

Wine Cellar: A wine cellar can be a great place to store your wine while focusing on keeping it at the appropriate temperature. This is because wine cellars are cooler since they are unground and achieve the perfect temperature zone for your wine.

If your cellar doesn’t seem to be holding between 50 and 60 degrees F, you can also place a thermostat to help control the temperature. However, be mindful that a thermostat can only make so much regulation and that outside factors, such as drafts, can influence the temperature.

Get to drinking: Well, you can always opt to start drinking your wine. You can expect your wine to be okay at room-temperature storage for a few months if unopened and a few days to 1 week once opened. Obviously, this isn’t the best option for wine collectors, but it is an option!

Professionally store your wine: A bit more expensive in the long term, you can choose to have your wine professionally stored. An additional benefit to professional wine storage is that it will also insure your wine if there is any damage. However, the downside is having to get your wine from the storage facility, which means no spontaneous wine nights. This option is suitable for wine sellers but not wine collectors typically.

Wine Fridges: A wine fridge is our most recommended way to regulate the temperature of your wine. You can set your fridge to the exact temperature you want to store your wine, and the fridge will do all the work! You will not have to worry about the outside environment fluctuating the temperature because your wine fridge was designed to control it!

Suggested Wine Fridges

Swisscave - Classic Edition 154 Bottle Dual Zone Wine Cooler: As part of its brand new Classic Edition wine cooler line, Swisscave's wine coolers are not only beautifully designed, but they can also be a true addition to your wine collection since their dual zone, winter system, and charcoal filter keep your fine wines at the ideal temperature and humidity, whether you want them to be stored long term or for service.

Swisscave - Premium Edition 39-45 Bottle Dual Zone Wine Cooler: As part of its premium Swisscave cooling technology, the new Premium Edition wine cooler offers an elegant, brushed aluminum appearance along with Swisscave cooling technology that is of the highest quality. With the telescopic beech shelves installed, the WLB-160DF wine fridge can hold 39 Bordeaux-style bottles without shelves. This wine cooler has two temperature zones and a winter heating system that ensures your wine remains at the desired serving or storage temperature day and night, regardless of the ambient temperature.

Other Factors that can Harm Your Wine

Temperature is one of many external factors to focus on when protecting your wine collector. Every wine enthusiast should be aware of how humidity, UV light, odours, and vibrations can also affect your wine.

Take a look at this quick breakdown of each of these external factors:

Humidity: If the Humidity is too low, your cork can dry out and crack. This will allow oxidation in your bottle, producing an over-oxidated and sour wine.  

UV Light: UV light can be caused by sunlight exposure; its technical term is “light-struck.” Too many UV rays can cause your wine to spoil.

Odours: Odours can attach to the corks in your wine bottles. These smells eventually work their way into the wine itself, changing taste and aroma.

Vibration: A vibrating wine storage can cause the bottles to shake and result in sediment mixing. This can cause overwhelming tannins and unbalance the flavor profile.

Are you interested in learning more about one or all of these topics? Check out our blog; We have created an in-depth article that explains why and how these factors negatively affect your wine. Even better, we teach you how to properly store your wine so that you don’t have to worry about any of these external factors!

TL;DR!

Keeping your wine between 11 and 13 degrees C is essential to maintain its quality, taste, smell, and color. In addition, it also ensures that the aging process happens at the expected rate rather than slower or faster than it should. Fortunately, tools such as wine fridges make storing and protecting your wine from external factors like high temperatures incredibly easy.

If you have ay questions about the ideal way to store wine pls contact us for professional help.

Sarah newton

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Author - Sarah Newton

Sarah Newton has worked in the wine industry for two decades holding senior positions at some of the UK wine industry's leading brands. The MD of Coolersomm, Sarah is WSET certified and our lead wine buyer too.