The perfect temperature for serving wine

If you’re serious about wine, whether serving it up in a restaurant or drinking it at home, then you’ll want to be certain you’re serving and drinking it at the perfect temperature.

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For many wines, although adequate for drinking at home, a fridge is actually too cold for even white and sparkling wines, and it’s worth investing in commercial wine coolers if you sell or drink wine regularly. This is especially true if you are selling high-end wines, but even wines at the cheaper end will taste a lot better if they are served at the correct temperature for that grape variety or wine type. The right temperature allows the full flavour and perfume to develop, which in turn makes the wine taste better.

A wine cooler replicates the conditions of a wine cellar, cool, dark and a little damp. This will allow you to store white and sparkling wine, and even some reds, in the right conditions in terms of light and humidity levels.

If you have more than one cooler, or a dual zone cooler like those available from companies such as, you can keep different wines at different temperatures.

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White and sparkling

White wine needs to be chilled, opened just before serving, and then kept chilled. However, if you do have a wine cooler available, then you are in the fortunate position of being able to be much more precise about temperatures. The advised serving temperatures may only seem to be a few degrees different, but for the wine connoisseur, those degrees can make a big difference –

If you don’t have a cooler or the wine has got very very cold (below five degrees centigrade), simply let the bottle sit at room temperature for around 15 minutes before you pour and drink.

Red wines

It’s slightly easier with red wine, as many will develop the right aroma and taste if left decanted at room temperature (between 12 and 18 degrees centigrade) for around an hour before serving. If you are in a very warm climate or surroundings (over 18 degrees), then put the wine in the fridge for 30 minutes, and then open or decant before serving.

Some reds are intended to be served slightly chilled, and this applies to sparkling reds as well as light, young wines such as Beaujolais.

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