The temperature in a wine cellar or wine fridge for storing red wine should be set somewhere between 50 and 65 degrees Fahrenheit.
In this article, we’ll examine the fundamental factors that contribute to preserving the best flavor of red wine, and investigate the significant role that top rated wine refrigerators play in attaining this objective.
Different types of red wine have different optimal temperatures in order for the wine to present its best flavors and aromas, so properly storing them is crucial.
Table of Contents
Best Wine Fridge Temperature for Storing Red Wine
In order to avoid the wine deteriorating, losing its quality, and oxidizing, it is important to store red wine at a consistent temperature range of 50-65°F.
The ideal temperature for long term storage is usually kept at a lower range than the proper serving temperature, as this helps slow down the aging of the wine.(2)
Light Body Red Wine – Storage Temperature
The thin skin of the grapes, the lower alcohol and tannin content, and the fruity nature of these wines, are all factors that contribute to them demanding a lower temperature when aging.
Light red wines should be stored at 50 to 55 degrees Fahrenheit. This is the ideal temperature to store Pinot Noir, Beaujolais, Dolcetto d’Alba and other light wines.
It is important to note that most of these red wines are not meant to be aged and should be consumed whithin few years. There are exceptions, such as some Pinot Noir wines, which can age for more than 15 years.
Medium Body Red Wine – Storage Temperature
Medium-body wines contain less fruit and more tannins, and therefore should be stored at a higher temperature than light red wines.
The temperature should be set around 55 degrees. This is the ideal range to store Malbec, Grenache, Rioja and other medium body red wines.
Full Body Red Wine – Storage Temperature
The higher storing temperature for full-body red wines contributes to smoothening the tannins and the high alcohol taste as the wine ages.
The recommended temperature for storing this type of wine is between 55 and 65 degrees. It is the optimal range to store Cabernet Sauvignon, Nebbiolo, Petite Sirah, Zinfandel, and other heavier red wines.
Recommended next: Bordeaux Storage Guide. Read more…..
Dessert Red Wine – Storage Temperature
Just like heavier red wines, storing fortified Ports and Madeiras improves their quality over time, but it’s important to store them properly. Ideally, the temperature should be between 55 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit.
Read more about how to store Rosé wines here.
Rules to Follow When Storing Red Wine
Besides keeping an ideal storage temperature, there are some other things to be very strict about when planning to give your wine collection some maturity:
The humidity of your wine storage is another factor to be taken into consideration when aging wine. In order to preserve the wine from oxidizing the ideal humidity should be around 60-70%.
Most wine storage and refrigirator brands offer humidity control in their products, but if not, simply placing a cup of water for smaller areas, or a bucket for larger areas, will keep you on the safe side.
2. Light Exposure
Just like the humidity level and the wine temperature, storing your wine in dark places is crucial.
Red wine should be stored in dark rooms to protect it from the harmful effects of light. Long-term light exposure can lead to the loss of the wine’s flavors, aroma, and color.
Light red wine in general is more affected than heavier red wine, due to its pale color, which could easily fade.
3. Position of the Wine Bottles
Last but not least, bottles of wine should be laid horizontally, in order to keep the cork moisturized and prevent air from getting inside them.
Eventually, if aging a wine takes too long, recorking it is a must. There are many studies debating when it should be done, but according to most wine experts, 20 years is the optimal age for changing the cork of the wine.
Difference Between Serving and Storage Temperature
It’s important to understand that the ideal storage temperature for red wine differs from the temperature at which it should be served. A wine storage unit can be used for both purposes, storing a wine bottle and getting it ready to drink (short-term storage).
Wine fridge temperature refers to the temperature at which wine is kept for serving purposes.
Wine storage temperature, on the other hand, refers to the level at which wine is maintained for long-term aging.
What is the Ideal Serving Temperature for a Red Wine?
At some point in our lives, we have all heard that red wine should be served at room temperature and that white wine should be refrigerated.
But, the room temperature in today’s homes is far warmer than it used to be centuries ago, or even in the 20s of the 20th century.
Homes in middle age France, for example, were far colder than what we are used to now, and that affected the red wine storage temperatures as well.(1)
Let’s explain why setting the optimal range in your wine cellar or wine fridge brings out the best in different types of wine:
Light Body Red Wines
Light red wines, such as Pinot Noir, Beaujolais, or Barbera should be served slightly cooler than full-bodied red wines. The reason behind that is the fruit-forward profile of these wines, and chilling them helps bring out their subtle flavors and aromas. The right temperature for serving a light-body red wine is between 55 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit.
Medium Body Red Wines
The best temperature for serving medium-body reds should be a little higher. As we go up in the wine boldness scale, the alcohol level goes higher, as well as the tannin content, and the fruit level goes lower.
Medium-body red wines such as Malbec, Rioja, or Chianti should have serving temperatures between 60 and 65 degrees Fahrenheit.
Learn more about how to store Merlot wines properly in our latest guide.
Full Body Red Wines
Full-body red wines contain more alcohol and more tannins than other wines and serving them colder than the proper temperature will mask the bold flavors and the complex structure of the wines.
Heavier reds such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Barolo, or Syrah would be ideally served at approximately 65 degrees Fahrenheit.
Dessert Red Wines
Due to the high alcohol content, fortified red wines such as Porto and Madeira should not be too chilled like some other dessert wines. The proper temperature for red fortified wines is around 65 degrees, while light red dessert wines (e.g. Lambrusco, Brachetto d’Acqui) should be served at a cooler range, between 50-55 degrees.
Maintaining the ideal temperature for your red wine collection is crucial for preserving the wine’s quality and enhancing its flavor and aroma.
A wine cellar or wine cooler can help you achieve this by providing a controlled environment that prevents temperature fluctuations and exposure to light and humidity.
It is important to keep in mind the body and the flavor profile of the bottle of wine you are storing, in order to set your wine refrigerator properly.
The name of the game is keeping things consistent, without letting it go too low or too high. Now you can store your wine as a real connoisseur.
And if you would like to find out more about how to properly store white wines, we have an article explaining this in detail that you can read here.
Can You Store White Wine in the Same Wine Cabinet as Red Wine?
Yes, the perfect situation would be if your wine cellar or cabinet has divided storage areas for red and white wines. If not, find the average between the two and keep the perfect temperature at a consistent level.
How Should I Adjust the Temperature if I Have Different Types of Red Wine?
If storing together different red wine bottles, for example, Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon, the temperature should be set at the average range for these two which in this case would be 60 degrees Fahrenheit.
Does Storing Wine Bottles Properly Contribute to Better Aging of the Wine?
Yes, proper wine storage and its ability to age are the two main factors for the improved result of the aging process.
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