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From the Cellar to the Table: Tricks for Bringing Wine to Perfect Service Temperature

Tuesday, May 27th, 2008 at 11:05:03 AM
by Mike D., Wine Enthusiast Companies

It’s 10:30 AM on a Tuesday and I have just finished my 4th consultation and explanation of the differences between storage and service temperature for wine. To be clear, the majority of wine collectors are looking for a wine cellar environment to store their wines to age gracefully and protect from volatile situations.

So along comes the question I often hear: “Do I need a two- temperature unit to store my reds and whites?” If your intentions are to store your wines for aging and protection, you need only a one- temperature unit. Ideally, all wines (reds, whites, champagne and ports) best store at temperatures between 50-60 degrees.

At this point, I usually get: “But shouldn’t my white wines be at a colder temperature? Yes, but now we are talking about service temperature. You can have storage and service in one unit with a two- temp unit that will allow for both functions, but there are other tricks for bringing wine to service temperature.

Chilling CarafeSo, you’ve decided on a unit for strictly wine storage. It’s early Friday evening and you reach for a bottle of white and red to get your weekend started off right. The red and white are both at 55 degrees – storage temperature! You want to get things started and get your wine at service temperature.

Here is what I suggest: for the red, get out your favorite decanter and pour the bottle carefully into it. Set aside and let sit for about 15 minutes. The act of transferring the wine from a chilled bottle to decanter will make a big difference You want to enjoy most red wines at around 65 degrees.

For the whites, I am a big fan of rapid ice (a gel-filled sleeve you leave in the freezer) but there is a new kid on the block: the wine chilling carafe. It’s a fast and easy way to chill down your wines. Just fill the chamber, Ravi Instant Wine Chillerinsert with ice and place into the carafe – it brings your 55 degree white down to 45 degrees in about 10 minutes. If you’re short on time, check out the new Ravi instant wine chiller, it chills your wine in seconds.

What are some tricks that you use to bring your wine from storage to service temperature? Leave a comment, and fill us in!

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10 Responses to “From the Cellar to the Table: Tricks for Bringing Wine to Perfect Service Temperature”

  1. 1 Fred McTavish said:

    Just tried the RAVI Instant wine Chiller…..Wowwww! I have to agree with you, this gizmo chills the wine instantly!!
    It’s great for white wines but amazing also to refresh a red wine to the ideal serving temperature!
    I’ll never again drink a red wine at room temperature…especially here in Arizona!


  2. I am going to try it on a Vodka bottle this weekend.

  3. 3 Fred McTavish said:

    Did you try it with Vodka Mike???

  4. During the (hot) summer months here in Mobile, Alabama, I have found myself liking my red wines more & more chilled.. It just seems to be more refreshing. However, I am curious as to what the disadvantages are to colder reds as opposed to the optimum serving tempuratures mentioned herein. Please advise.

  5. When you consider red wine to be best served at room temp – the temp most considered is around 60-65 degrees (Chateau!) Certainly in the hot summer months it is refreshing to drink beverages cooler -but if you are drinking your wines too cold you won’t be tasting all the fruit and nuances intended by the winemaker. Try a lighter red such as a Pinot Noir or Beaujolais- it can be served cooler and still get the the tastes intended.

  6. 6 Margaret R. said:

    The remodeling and recommissioning of our ‘yacht’ after the Katrina incident included a lovely 16 bottle cooler from Wine Enthusiasts. On the Dog River in Mobile Alabama the wine is now properly served and enjoyed. Or so the visitors to our boat have said. We are hoping to read replies concerning the cooling of reds posted earlier. We have the cooler filled with all kinds of wine. The temperature is above 90 daily and this afternoon retreat is marvelous.
    thanks for the education,
    Margaret and Ron

  7. I just got home from teaching a wine class, and the subject of temperature was discussed. I live in Coral Springs, FL. and room temp these days is usually about 76F. Most people realize that room tempearture is too warm at restaurants. So I suggest they ask for an ice bucket for a red ‘s quick plunge. It’s ready to drink before the appetizer arrives and keep it at the table to refresh during dinner.

  8. Many of our customers don’t have refrigerated wine storage at home. And in today’s economy, that’s not very feasible for many people.
    At home, the fridge is the ubiquitous tool. White wines in the night before and taken out 30-40 minutes before serving. Red wines put in 30-40 minutes before serving. That gets pretty close. In case you didn’t plan far enough ahead, the freezer works (although it’s harder to get the right temp): whites in for about 15 minutes (we accelerate the cooling with an ice-gel pack); reds in for about 7-8 minutes (no gel pack).
    At a restaurant, ask for an ice bucket for whites AND reds. If your meal lasts for an hour or more, you’ll need to keep chilling the white (frequently) and the reds too (occasionally).

  9. Hi,

    Just bought a 16 bottle wine cellar. (
    It’s winter and my home temp is definitely not 65F. Brrr…
    Can I just set the cellar temp to 63F then take a bottle out and drink it, or should I store
    the wine at 55F, but the problem is then how to get the wine (cabernets) back to optimal service temp of 63F?

    My cellar will not be used for long term storage.
    Will storing the wine at 63F cause any damage if set at that temp for months?


  10. i just took delivery of a beautiful new Vinotemp dual-zone wine cooler, and after much research, it turns out i’m setting both zones to the same temperature – 55 degrees F – and will simply be taking my reds out half an hour before serving and sticking my whites in the regular fridge half an hour before serving. that should do the trick nicely.

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