Serving Wine at the Right Temperature
Determining the Temperatures

OK, we had the wines, and we knew we wanted to try them at various temperatures. What temperatures should we use?

First, the white. People know that a white wine should be served chilled. For many people, this means straight out of the fridge at around 35F. Some people take it out of the fridge and let it warm it up slightly before serving. Most wine storage (in wine coolers and such) is done at 55F. The actual proper temperature for a Sauvignon Blanc and other whites is about 50F.

So we decided to try our white at 72F (the current room temperature), 50F, 44F, and 38F

Reds are trickier. Many people think reds should be served at "room temperature". Really, "room temperature" was the phrase back when rooms tended to stay aorund 60F. The ideal serving temperature for a Cabernet is 63F. In modern days where rooms hit 70 or above, room temperature is a bad idea. Still, with the idea that most people serve reds somewhere between cool to room temperature, we chose the temperatures 45F, 53F, 63F, and 72F.

Just how were we going to figure out what temperature these wines were?

Item #1 came from a wine catalogue for about $10. It's a metal band that you stick onto the wine bottle, and the appropriate temperature lights up. We found that the metal didn't hold closely to the bottles most of the time, so you really had to hold it down to get it to register. Also, what it read didn't seem to match any other more reliable source of information. Not highly recommended.

This is in essence the same sort of plastic strip you use on kids' foreheads or aquariums. This one happens to be for winemaking, for sticking on the glass carboy. They sell these in all sorts of hobby shops. Just find one that covers the temperature range you're interested in. It worked rather well.

We did find it a REAL challenge getting each wine to hit the temperature marks we were interested in. Fridge temperature was easy, as was room temperature. We just stuck a real thermometer into the fridge and the room to see what it was. However, getting a wine to come up to a given temperature from fridge temperature was very difficult. You could of course just take the wine out and then wait around until it happens to hit the right temperature, but it's hard to plan a meal that way! You can also take a warm wine and try to stick it in the freezer, but that also takes a while.

That was the biggest challenge by far for this experiment - to get the wines to hit the proper temperatures for drinking.

Stage 1: Choosing the Wines
Stage 2: Determining the Temperatures
Stage 3: Tasting the White Wine
Stage 4: Tasting the Red Wine
Stage 5: The Results

Wine Serving Temperature Guidelines

All content on the WineIntro website is personally written by author and wine enthusiast Lisa Shea. WineIntro explores the delicious variety and beautiful history which makes up our world of wine! Lisa loves supporting local wineries and encouraging people to drink whatever they like. We all have different taste buds, and that makes our world wonderful. Always drink responsibly.