How to Store and Serve Wine

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Wine storage temperatures are hardly trivial...

Wine Storage Temperatures

Wine storage temperatures

Don't spoil the wine by storing it in a place that's too cold or too hot. And of course when it comes to serving wine you and guests will appreciate the correct temperature.

Serving and Storing Wine - Temperatures Plus

If you read the previous section, or maybe even if you haven't, you know how hard dozens of people worked to put those grapes in that wine bottle in your local wine store. You also know how hard you worked to buy that bottle. Why spoil it all? Take a look at these suggestions for storing and serving wine.

Stack wine bottles on their sides to keep the cork moist and prevent air seepage. There are two exceptions: Wine bottles with a screwtop lid may be stored upright. Champagne and other sparkling wines may also be stored upright because the carbonic gas in between the bottom of the cork and the top of the wine keeps the cork moist and swollen.

Rapid temperature changes make the cork shrink and expand and eventually create a gap on the bottle’s neck which allows air to seep in and spoil the wine.

To avoid that terrible waste when a sparkling wine foams out of the glass, first pour about an ounce and wait for it to settle. Then pour more into the glass.

Some people consider 52ºF (11ºC) to be the ideal wine storage temperature. In practice, however, stable temperatures between 40ºF (5ºC) and 65ºF (18ºC) are fine for storing most wines. The humidity should be about 70 to 75 percent.

The lip of a red wine glass slopes inwardly to hold the aroma.

You can chill white wine or Champagne by putting it in a bucket containing ice and kosher salt.

To experience how wine evolves in the glass, don’t top up wine glasses containing more than two sips. By the way, a wine steward should not top up wine glasses too frequently.

An overchilled wine loses its aroma and flavor. The cork wax may stick to the bottle and you’ll have trouble removing the cork.

An underchilled wine also loses its aroma and flavor, but at least you won’t have any trouble removing the cork.

Here are some rules of thumb for chilling wines in an ice bath before serving.

Chill most red wines for about 5 minutes.

Chill red wines such as Beaujolais for about 15 minutes.

Chill most white wines for about 15 to 25 minutes.

Chill Champagne and sparkling wines for about 30 minutes.

Return to Wine Trivia and Facts Page

For more information consult our guest articles on storing wine at:
Storing wine outside racks
Wine racks and
Serving wine

Wine is chock full of interesting and often surprising facts, factoids, and statistics. Some would call it trivia, but this wine information is hardly trivial. Spark up your next wine tasting party with wine information.