Wine 101: What Temperature Should Red Wine be Stored
“A bunch of grapes is beautiful, static and innocent. It is merely a fruit. But when it is crushed, it becomes an animal, for the crushed grapes become wine and wine has an animal life.”—-William Younger, an American writer who regards red wine as life. Indeed, many people love red wine just like we love our friends. When you get an aging bottle of wine, your first reaction, I suppose, is to have a taste. But the second reaction may be how to store it for next enjoying. Then how to store red wine for its best flavor?
Undoubtedly, temperature is one of the most important factors that affect the storage of wine. This is because the taste and aroma of wine must be stored in proper temperature to be volatilized faultlessly. If the temperature is too high, the acidity or bitter taste of wine will come out. While if the temperature is too low, the daintiness and aroma of wine cannot be volatilized out. An ideal wine cellar is best to maintain a constant temperature of 55 °F, which is the natural average temperature of the cellar in European countryside. But the temperature from 46 °F to 64°F is also in the tolerance range.
Professor Alexander J.Pardell from University of California did such an experiment: if taking 55 °F which is the general standard for wine storage as a benchmark, the maturation speed of red wine will accelerate to 2 to 8 times than usual when the temperature is increased to 73 °F. While the temperature becomes 90 °F, the maturation speed of red wine will accelerate to 4 to 56 times than usual. And of course, the maturation speed of red wine also varies with the grape varieties and brewing methods.
Generally speaking, the optimum storage temperature for different wine is as follows:
- Semi-sweet or sweet red wine: 55 °F to 60 °F.
- Semi-dry red wine: 60 °F to 64 °F.
- Dry red wine: 60 °F to 72 °F.
In brief, red wine prefers some of the cold environment. So does this mean you can store red wine in refrigerator? Of course not. There are three defects in storing wine in refrigerator.
- It is too dry. The environment for wine storing needs to have enough humidity. Or else, wine will be oxidized in a short time.
- Refrigerator cannot keep a constant temperature. When the temperature in refrigerator is decreased to a certain degree, the motor will automatically turn off. While the temperature is increased to a higher degree, the motor starts again. Thus the temperature difference is formed.
- Refrigerator motor supports a periodic shake. And shake will accelerate the movement of molecules in wine, which will result in the early-maturity of wine.
Therefore, the ideal place for red wine storing is wine cellar. If without this condition, you can buy a wine cabinet. But no matter the wine cellar or the wine cabinet, the environment that they offered must be of constant temperature, because for red wine, the temperature controls life.