The Correct Wine Storage Temperature

Temperature is by far the most important factor in storing wine. If you do not have ideal conditions for storing your wine, it is recommended that you at least maintain optimal temperature levels. The storage temperature of wine has the biggest impact on its flavor, quality and longevity. Since most wines need to be aged for a period of months to years, your wine storage area should have a consistent temperature. This means the 9 bottle wine racks that sit on countertops are not effective in properly storing wine. Ideally, a cellar or controlled temperature wine chamber is the best way to store your wines .

Wine storage temperature should be between 40 and 65 degrees Fahrenheit, with the optimal range being between 50 and 55 degrees. Wine develops nicely when it is within this range. Before refrigeration was invented, wines were stored in caves and underground cellars. The natural underground temperature in France is roughly 55 degrees Fahrenheit. So the “ideal” for wine was developed out of a regional practice, rather than an exact science.

However, in modern times, science has become a big part of the winemaking industry. Modern technology has allowed wine makers and aficionados to understand exactly why the ideal temperature range is ideal. What we call “aging” of wine is actual a series of chemical reactions that take place over time. Each of these reactions can be effected positively or adversely depending on the temperature at which the wine is stored during the moment of the chemical reaction. These chemical reactions have unique energy factors that must be met for the necessary reaction to occur.

When a wine is stored on top of a refrigerator or in direct sunlight, the increased temperature results in chemical reactions that damage the quality and the flavor of the wine. Heat damaged wine can turn brown in color from oxidization due to heat. Sherry is an oxidized wine; so another feature of heat-damaged wine is a non-sherry wine tasting similar to sherry.