What Is the Ideal Temperature to Store Red Wine?
The ideal temperature to store red wine is at cellar temperature, which is between 12°C (55°F) and 18°C (65°F).
Storing red wine at a consistent temperature within this range helps to preserve its flavour and aroma. High temperatures (warmer than room temperature) can cause the wine to age prematurely and develop “off” flavours, while low temperatures can slow down the ageing process and prevent the wine from developing its full flavour.
It’s also important to store red wine in a relatively humid place (around 70% humidity), as low humidity can cause corks to dry out.
If a cork dries out, it can have a catastrophic effect on the wine it seals. As a natural and porous material, cork is subject to the effects of humidity and temperature. If a cork isn’t kept moist, it can become brittle and shrink, creating gaps between the cork and the bottle’s neck. This allows air to enter the bottle, which can lead to oxidation and cause the wine to spoil and lose its character.
The role of a cork in wine preservation is crucial, particularly for wines that are intended to age gracefully. The cork allows for a small amount of oxygen to enter the bottle, which aids in the ageing process by gradually breaking down the wine’s tannins and other compounds, resulting in a smoother, more complex wine.
It’s also important to keep the wine away from direct sunlight. When wine is exposed to sunlight, the UV rays can interact with the wine’s compounds, causing them to break down and degrade. This process, photo-oxidation, can cause the wine to age prematurely, thereby losing its complexity and nuance. The wine’s colour can also be affected, with white wines becoming darker and red wines losing their vibrant hues.