It may not have escaped your notice, if you're a lover of ultra chilled white or Champagne, that most wine fridges only go down as low as 5°C and no lower and many struggle to stay that low battling the ambient temperature or the other temperature zones in the wine fridge.
Today we're going to talk about why wine fridges don't go lower than 5°C generally, which wine fridges do, and how to reduce the temperature in your own wine fridge to make it just that little bit cooler.
What temperature should wine be enjoyed?
The genuine answer to this question is 'any temperature you like'. Wine enthusiasts may well scowl if they see you using fine wine as a base for mulled wine, or if you drink your Cote Rotie straight out of the fridge but just as beauty is in the eye of the beholder, wine temperature, and the point at which it tastes best to you, can only be defined by the individual. There are some commonly held views by wine experts though, so let's explore what the experts say.
Wine is a delicate beverage that is affected by many factors, including temperature. Serving wine at the right temperature is crucial to ensuring that it tastes its best according to the experts. The ideal serving temperature can vary depending on the type of wine, the occasion, and personal preferences.
Why is serving temperature important?
Serving temperature is important because it can affect the way a wine tastes. If a wine is served too cold, its flavours and aromas may be muted, while if it is served too warm, it may taste flat or overly alcoholic. The ideal temperature for serving wine is determined by the type of wine, as each variety has its own unique characteristics that are best experienced at a particular temperature.
What temperature should white wine be served at?
White wines are typically served chilled, which helps to enhance their refreshing qualities. However, serving them too cold can mask their flavours and aromas. A good rule of thumb is to serve white wines at a temperature between 45-55°F (7-13°C). This temperature range allows the wine to retain its crispness while also allowing its aromas and flavours to be fully appreciated. Light-bodied white wines like Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Grigio are best served at the lower end of this range, while fuller-bodied white wines like Chardonnay can be served at the higher end.
What temperature should red wine be served at?
Red wines are typically served at room temperature, but this can be misleading as room temperature varies depending on where you are. In general, red wines are best served slightly cooler than room temperature, around 55-65°F (13-18°C). This allows the wine's aromas and flavours to be fully appreciated without the alcohol overpowering them. Light-bodied red wines like Pinot Noir are best served at the lower end of this range, while fuller-bodied red wines like Cabernet Sauvignon can be served at the higher end.
What temperature should sparkling wine be served at?
Sparkling wines like Champagne and Prosecco are best served chilled, but not too cold. If a sparkling wine is served too cold, it can mask its flavours and aromas. Sparkling wines are best served at a temperature between 40-50°F (4-10°C). This allows the bubbles to be fully appreciated while also allowing the wine's unique flavours and aromas to shine through.
What about dessert wines?
Dessert wines are typically served at a slightly cooler temperature than other wines, between 45-50°F (7-10°C). This allows their sweet flavours to be fully appreciated without the alcohol overpowering them.
Tips for serving wine at the right temperature
Here are some tips for serving wine at the right temperature:
- Chill white wines in the refrigerator for a few hours before serving. If you're short on time, you can also chill them in an ice bucket for 15-20 minutes before serving.
- Red wines can be slightly chilled in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes before serving.
- Sparkling wines should be chilled in the refrigerator for a few hours before serving.
- If you're serving wine outdoors in warm weather, you may need to chill it for longer to compensate for the warmer temperature.
- If you accidentally over-chill a wine, let it sit at room temperature for a few minutes before serving to allow it to warm up slightly.
- Use a wine thermometer to ensure that your wine is at the correct temperature before serving.
In conclusion, serving wine at the right temperature is crucial to ensuring that it tastes its best. White wines should be served between 45-55°F (7-13°C), red wines should be served between 55-65°F (13-18°C), and sparkling wines should be
Why don't wine fridges go below 5°C?
Generally wine fridges don't go below this point because most wines, even Champagne, finds its ultimate expression, again, according to those pesky experts, at temperatures over 5°C. Long term wine storage hits the peak of effectiveness at 12°C, so it's just not commercially viable to produce wine fridges that go under 5°C as too few of the wine buying population would purchase them. This doesn't make the customer wrong for wanting very chilled wine.
Most wine lovers who have a wine fridge and want very cold wine tend to simply take the wine from the fridge and place it in the freezer for 30 minutes.
Which wine fridges do go below 5°C?
There are wine fridges that can be set below 5°C.
The Montpellier units start at 2°C, allowing lovers of ultra-chilled wine to enjoy their wine at this very cool temperature.
The small Dunavox countertop units start at 4°C and are very popular for this reason with bars serving chilled wines by the glass.
Can I lower the temperature of a wine fridge under its lowest set point?
Firstly, make sure you have chosen the very lowest temperature setting for your wine fridge compartment.
Secondly, a tray of ice at the very top of your wine fridge will help lower the temperature of the unit, however, you would need to keep topping this up and ensure that you didn't overfill it and have water splashing down through the wine fridge all over the labels. A risky strategy we feel.
If an individual bottle needs to be cooled, you can pop it in the freezer for 30 minutes. However, leaving it in the freezer any longer than that could cause the bottle to smash.
A clever way to get super cold wine would be to pour it into a container made for freezing and then allow it to freeze, or to make wine ice cubes from the same wine you wanted to cool, this way, not diluting your wine with water.
Finally, the old student trick of putting your wine on the window ledge in a British winter will certainly bring its temperature right down, however, if it's a bottle of Champagne, you may find the bottle is no longer there upon waking up.
Why isnt my wine fridge even reaching the coldest temperature setting?
What do you do when your wine fridge isn't cooling as it should? There are a few things you can do to make your wine fridge colder including;
Step 1: Check the Temperature Setting
The first thing you should do is check the temperature setting of your wine fridge. Most wine fridges have a temperature range of between 40°F and 65°F, with the ideal temperature for wine storage being between 45°F and 55°F. If your wine fridge is set to a temperature above this range, it may not be cooling properly.
To adjust the temperature setting, consult your wine fridge manual for specific instructions. Generally, you will need to press a button or turn a dial to adjust the temperature. Be sure to wait at least 24 hours before checking the temperature again, as it can take some time for the fridge to adjust to the new setting.
Step 2: Check the Thermostat
If adjusting the temperature setting doesn't work, the next step is to check the thermostat. The thermostat is responsible for regulating the temperature inside the wine fridge and may be malfunctioning.
To check the thermostat, you will need to unplug the wine fridge and remove the thermostat cover. You should see a small dial or switch that controls the thermostat. Use a multimeter to test the thermostat's continuity, which will tell you whether it is working properly. If the thermostat is faulty, you will need to replace it.
Step 3: Check the Door Seal
Another common cause of a wine fridge not cooling properly is a faulty door seal. If the door seal is damaged or not properly aligned, cold air can escape from the fridge, making it harder to maintain the desired temperature.
To check the door seal, inspect it for any signs of damage, such as cracks or tears. If the seal looks okay, try closing the door on a piece of paper or dollar bill. If you can easily pull the paper out, the seal is not tight enough, and you may need to adjust the door or replace the seal.
Step 4: Clean the Condenser Coils
The condenser coils on your wine fridge are responsible for removing heat from the inside of the fridge and expelling it outside. Over time, these coils can become covered in dust and debris, reducing their efficiency and causing the fridge to run less efficiently.
To clean the condenser coils, unplug the fridge and locate the coils at the back or bottom of the unit. Use a soft-bristled brush or a vacuum cleaner with a brush attachment to remove any dust or debris. Be gentle, as the coils can be delicate.
Step 5: Check the Fans
The fans in your wine fridge help circulate the cold air inside the fridge, making sure that every bottle is cooled evenly. If the fans are not working properly, the fridge may not cool properly.
To check the fans, unplug the fridge and locate the fan or fans inside the unit. Test them by turning the fridge back on and listening for the sound of the fan running. If you don't hear anything, or if the fan is making unusual noises, it may be faulty and need to be replaced.
In conclusion, a wine fridge that isn't cooling properly can be a frustrating problem for any wine enthusiast. However, by following these steps, you can troubleshoot and fix the problem yourself in most cases. Remember to always consult your wine fridge manual for specific instructions.
Can dual zone wine fridges be set to a cold temperature?
If you're looking for a wine fridge where one compartment can go as low as 5°C but other zones can be set higher then a dual zone wine fridge may be the best wine fridge for you.
Most dual zones can be set at 5°C with the red zone programmable between about 12-18°C most regularly although individual models and brands do differ.
Multizones can also be set low, but beware that setting a multizone wine fridge as low as it can go will mean the whole fridge is relatively cool, with the top portion certainly not reaching room temperature.
Which Wines Should Be Served Very Cold?
- Sparkling Wines
Sparkling wines like Champagne, Prosecco, and Cava should be served very cold, ideally between 40 and 50 degrees Fahrenheit. This is because the bubbles in sparkling wine can amplify the wine's acidity and make it taste too tart if it's not chilled enough. Serving sparkling wine too warm can also cause the bubbles to dissipate quickly, which can affect the overall taste and texture of the wine.
- White Wines
Most white wines, including Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, and Pinot Grigio, should be served cold, between 7 and 10 degrees Celsius. Chilling these wines can help bring out their bright acidity and fruit flavours, making them more refreshing and enjoyable to drink. However, be careful not to over-chill these wines as it can mute their flavours and aromas.
- Rosé Wines
Rosé wines are a popular choice for summer drinking, and they should be served very cold, ideally between 4 and 8 degrees Celsius. This is because rosé wines have similar acidity levels to white wines and can benefit from being chilled to bring out their refreshing flavours.
- Sweet Wines
Sweet wines like Riesling, Moscato, and Sauternes should be served cold, between 7 and 10 degrees Celsius. Chilling these wines can help balance their sweetness and acidity, making them more enjoyable to drink. However, be careful not to over-chill these wines, as it can mute their delicate aromas and flavours.
Which Wines Should Not Be Served Very Cold?
- Full-bodied Red Wines
Full-bodied red wines like Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Shiraz should not be served very cold. These wines have lower acidity and higher tannins, and serving them too cold can mute their complex flavours and aromas. Instead, these wines should be served at room temperature, ideally between 14 and 18 degrees Celsius.
- Light-bodied Red Wines
Light-bodied red wines like Pinot Noir and Gamay can be served slightly chilled, but not very cold. Chilling these wines can help bring out their bright fruit flavours, but serving them too cold can mute their delicate aromas and flavours. These wines should be served at around 12-14 degrees Celsius.
Serving wine at the right temperature can make a big difference in how it tastes and smells. However, as with everything in life, each to their own, there really is no WRONG way to serve wine if you enjoy ice cold Gevrey Chambertin or below zero Barolo, who are we to judge!