Chilling Out: Wine Serving Temperatures

Date August 3, 2011 | Chuck | Editorials & Wine Basics

Regardless of the wine you're serving, the temperature should be warm enough to allow the natural flavours and aromas to shine, yet cold enough to be refreshing and subdue some overly eager tannins and perceived heat from a wine with a higher alcohol content. Read on to find out the ideal serving temperature for your favourite wine.

Fact: Most people drink their reds too warm and their whites too cold. We've said this before: "drink what you like". I'll add to it and say "drink what you like, and how you like it". If you've been drinking your whites straight out of the freezer in a chilled glass for years, there's probably a good reason for it: that's how you like it. To that I'll say: Freeze on!


If your Red is Too Warm:

  • It may taste unbalanced
  • You'll feel more heat from the alcohol
  • Tannins could overpower the fruit

If your White is too Cold:

  • Fruit flavours will be muted
  • Acids may be sharper
  • Bitterness may be emphasized

If your Sparkling is too Warm:

  • It will erupt from the bottle on opening and you'll lose a good portion
  • The above point is sad enough


Average Fridge Temperature: 3°C (38°F)

Average Room Temperature: 20°C to 25°C (68°F to 77°F)


Here's our table of suggested serving temperatures

Wine Style Celsius Fahrenheit
Sparkling & Dessert Champagne, Prosecco, Ice Wine 5-8 40-45
Light-Medium Bodied Whites Sauvignon Blanc, Soave, Viognier Pinot Grigio 10-13 50-55
Rosé White Zinfandel 10-13 50-55
Light Bodied Reds Pinot Noir, Beaujolais, Gamay 14-16 57-60
Full Bodied Whites Chardonnay, Riesling, Gewurztraminer, Pinot Grigio 14-16 57-60
Medium-Full Bodied Reds Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Zinfandel, Malbec, Chianti 16-20 60-68


Tip: a bottle sitting in an ice bucket for 20 minutes will drop about 10°C (20°F)



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