Effective wine storage is a critical part of wine storage. Storage temperatures are not to be confused with serving temperatures, particularly with red wines as their optimum serving temperatures are above what we would recommend for long term ageing of wines.
The optimum storage temperature for all wines, including champagne and white wines is between 10 and 14°C. An efficient wine cabinet/cooler will maintain the internal temperature of +/-2°C so we recommend setting the cabinet at 12°C for optimum storage conditions.
By holding the wine at this temperature, with a low temperature fluctuation, the temperature of the liquid will be maintained at 12°C. It would take a sustained period of time at a different temperature to change the temperature of the liquid due to the way heat disperses through a liquid.
Allowing wines to age at this temperature means you allow the wine to slowly develop, releasing fruity odours and varying tastes. If wines are stored at cooler temperatures, this isn’t damaging to wines but will hinder the ageing process as it will slow down the development of the wine. Storing wines for a long period at warmer temperatures, for example 18-20°C will increase the rate of the ageing process and in most cases will not allow the wine to fully develop as the process has been rushed, if you will.
There are many different variations in wine due to the sheer number of varieties of grapes available to mix together. The variations can be categorised into a few categories: Whites, Sparkling, Rose, Red.
These categories utilise a wide range of serving temperatures which is why wine coolers generally have an operating temperature of 5-20°C, in order to cater for the vast range of wines available and to enjoy them properly.
As a rough guide, here is a guide to serving temperatures:
Sparkiling wines, prosecco and champagne: 5-10°C
Light whites: 6-11°C
Dry aromatic whites, Sauvignon blanc: 7-11°C
Full bodied sweet wines, sautemes or new world wines: 8-12C
Medium bodied reds, Merlot, Rioja: 9-12°C
Light Reds, Pinot Noir, Gamay: 10-15°C
Heavy Tannic Reds: 16-19°C
With red wines it’s advise to store wines a couple of degrees below the actual serving temperature as once the bottle is opened and served the actual temperature of the liquid will of risen slightly.