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Dec 22, 2010 05:20 PM

How to measure wine temperature?

I'm a wine newbie, I have some questions regarding wine temperature. I store my wine in a rack in my kitchen because I dont have a cellar or wine fridge yet. I keep it as far away from heat sources and window as possible. I've been reading charts that suggest what temperatures different wines should be served at and I understand that, however I have no clue how to guess the temperature of the wine and whether it needs to be chilled or warmed up further. Are there any tips you have?

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  1. I'm not sure this needs to be any big deal. If you place a thermometer of some kind (a typical metal refrigerator type should be fine) next to where the wine is kept that will tell you the approximate temp of the wine. The actual temp, inside the bottle, may vary a bit, but I wouldn't worry about that. I keep two inside my wine fridge (one at the top, the other near the bottom) to monitor that it's working correctly.

    1. There are several wine "thermometers" and for your instance, maybe one of the ones that is digital on a collar, that fits around the bottle would be fine.

      In very general terms, I find that most US whites are served too cold, and the reds are served too warm. Temp does matter.

      I used to be quite anal about the temp, but got over that. General temps are fine, when you find the range of your wines. Exact degrees are not quite so important.



      4 Replies
      1. re: Bill Hunt

        Bill, I spend a whole lot of time around the wine biz and I've never seen one of these before. Just how anal does one have to be about temp to need a thermometer 'collar' for $20 as opposed to a $3 type next to the bottle..................... or just, say, a pretty good idea of the ambient temp in the space where the wine is kept?????? In your more 'anal period' did you ever really notice significant differences in a wine at say 52° vs 57°?

        1. re: Midlife

          Most of the units that I have, or have seen, use a crystal display, but those seem close.

          The unit that you show is a few steps up from the ones that I have.


          1. re: Bill Hunt

            "The unit that you show is a few steps up from the ones that I have."

            And about a mile up from mine. I use my hand. If bottle feels too hot/cold, it probably is.

            1. re: RicRios

              In many restaurants, I do the same. Cannot recall the last time that I accepted the ice-bucket for a white. Now, I have turned a few heads, when I requested one for a few reds, but that is another story.


      2. Not sure if you store any wine in your kitchen longish term, or if it's all of the drink-now variety, but my best advice is to move it as far away from your kitchen as possible. There's too much heat variance and light. For now, stick it in the closet you use the least and that seems to be the coolest.

        1. Loosen up. It is very simple and doesn't require worrying about.

          White and sweet wines are better chilled. Put the bottle in the fridge before serving

          Red wines whould be just a bit cool to the tongue, not warm -- forget 'room temperature' which referred to unheated rooms.

          Your tongue is the best guide. If the wine is too warm, chill it. If the wine is too cold, cup the glass in your hands.

          You'll know when you open the first red bottle from your kitchen whether it needs any chilling, and in future you can pop it in the fridge a while.

          Forget wasting money on thermometers: get a freezer sleeve. Its a plastic tube filled with some jelly like material which you keep in your freezer. Any time you quiickly need to chill a wine pull it over the bottle.

          Forget temperature guides -- all that matters is whether the wine is at a temperature that you find pleasant.

          3 Replies
          1. re: Gussie Finknottle

            I have a sleeve and it doesn't work that great. I read so many rave reviews online before I bought it.

            I have a wine thermometer I've never used . . .

            Gussie, what do you think of the advice we got at a wine tasting: put a bottle of red in the fridge 20 minutes before you plan to drink it and take a bottle of white out of the fridge before you plan to drink it?

            It sounds similar to your advice . . .and so simple.

            1. re: financialdistrictresident

              IMHO................ that would work for 90% or more of people, with the possible exception that some reds would still be too cold aftyer 20 minutes. If you're talking a bout a regular food fridge, I'd say that wouild be likely. Wine fridge.............. not so much.

              1. re: financialdistrictresident

                There's no rule that fits all situations, its just commonsense. Pick up the bottle of wine, if it feels cold then don't fridge it, if its a hot day and the bottle doesn't feel cool, fridge it.

                In the heat of summer I always fridge red wines. Red shouldn't taste warm to the mouth.

                Its not a matter of life or death, after opeining a few bottles you soon work out what suit syou and your house.

                Another factor is the temperature of your fridge!

              1. re: andtheodor

                I think that Kintrex device would be great for people who don't yet have wine fridges or temp/humid controlled cellars yet. And judging based on feel seems too vague. We all have different room temperatures set at different times of the year. So many variables. Also, if we've decanted some red wine (old vintage or new) how would we know if it's too warm or not cold enough even if we did have wine fridges/temp controlled cellars after having let the wine in the decanter sit in "room temp" for X-mins? The first few times. We're not all Jedi here. :) I think I might order one...

                lso, just going by "if it feels too warm put it in the fridge for 20 min"....sounds like just a shot in the dark...drinking it at a temp we think suits us. So subjective.

                ion't think these collars would be good if you had only so much decanted wine in your decanter. Again this is where I think an infrared (laser) thermometer might come in handy the first few times serving wine in what ever happened to be the ave temp in that room.


                I do have a digital cooking thermometer with a metal rod attached to a wire which is attached to the digital readout.

                nd I suppose you would leave the decanted wine in the decanter only till it reaches "proper serving/drinking temp". Not for the suggested 2 hours I keep hearing about.

                Btw...a few paragraphs see "lso"....I typed "Also" but the A kept disappearing after I SAVE. :)

                1. re: BDD888

                  >>> (J)ust going by "if it feels too warm put it in the fridge for 20 min"....sounds like just a shot in the dark...drinking it at a temp we think suits us. So subjective. <<<

                  Wine IS subjective! You may love Château __________, and I may prefer a thousand other wines to that one. Which one of us is correct?

                  You may love your _________ served ice cold, while I may prefer it only slightly chilled. Which one of us is correct?

                  You may prefer your ___________ served before dinner, while I prefer it with dessert. Which one of us is correct?

                  You may prefer your _________ at room temperature, while I prefer it with a slight chill. Which one of us is correct?

                  You may prefer your 2010 vintage __________ to be simply decanted and poured, while I may prefer it to be decanted six hours before service . . . or perhaps not decanted at all. Which one of us is correct?

                  nd the absolute reverse may be true . . .

                  We are speaking of YOUR taste buds, and only YOU have your taste buds. Not me. Not he. Not she. Only you. And only you can tell yourself what you like and how you like it.

                  There are no iron-clad rules here, ONLY personal preferences. Nothing is exact. All is relative.

                  2F / / / /

                  nd good lord, yes -- how did we ever possibly get to enjoy a single bottle of wine in the days before "wine fridges or temp/humid controlled cellars"???