Posted on May 27, 2015
Best Temperature to Store Wine
The best temperature to store wine is about 55 degrees, which is the temperature of most natural caves in France. But anything in the range of 45 degrees to 65 degrees is perfectly appropriate to store your valued wines. The key here is consistency. While anything close to freezing or spiking above 80 degrees is obviously a bad idea for wine storage, temperature swings over time can be just as harmful. Wines will react to variations in warmth by slightly expanding and contracting, just like any liquid. Even the subtlest change in a wine's volume over time can loosen the cork and allow air to invade the bottle, slowly spoiling the wine with oxidation.
Know Your Corks
While synthetic corks and aluminum screw caps are generally acceptable for wines made for immediate consumption and even brief storage, natural corks are still preferred for any bottles you wish to keep for more than a couple of years. A natural cork makes an excellent barrier between wine and air, keeping the wine in and allowing minute quantities of air in over time to very slowly age the wine. Barrels have the same ability in letting wine mature and soften through slight air contact over time.
You should periodically check your most valued bottles by giving the cork a gentle but firm push with your thumb. Even the slightest movement can indicate a cork that has lost its grip on the bottle's neck and may be allowing air in. Test corks this way before you buy any wine. A loose cork means a wine is on its way to spoilage. Temperature swings in storage are the main culprit for faulty corks, and once a cork is out of the bottle, any wine stain above the contact end could mean leakage has occurred.
The Best Temperatures for Serving Wines
While personal preference is the only rule you need to worry about here, you should keep in mind a few facts about service temperature. Serving a wine cold will enhance its bite and crispness. Warmer than cellar temperature will bring out toasty notes in oaked wines, but will turn the nose of a high-alcohol wine "hot." Some reds even benefit from a slight chilling down before serving. All wines benefit from air once they are in the glass, regardless of the best temperature to store wine.