How Long to Chill Wine and Other Chilling Tips You Should Know


As self-described wine experts or sommeliers, if you will, we know a thing or two when it comes to pouring the perfect glass of wine. We've experienced the utter horror when our lips made contact with a warm chardonnay, and we would never wish that upon anyone, even our competitors or worst enemies. 

Therefore, we took some time out of our super busy schedules to outline some tips on pouring the perfect glass of wine. Assuming you have a great bottle of wine or a can of Bev, you must do your part to live up to your wine's expectations. And although wine doesn't talk, we know for sure that they would share that the perfect glass of wine has everything to do with temperature. 

Why Does Temperature Matter, Anyway?

If you aren't a wine snob or professional, you probably haven't spent too much time worrying about serving your wine at the optimal temperature. But the truth is, the serving temperature of your wine has a massive effect and will either help or hinder your wine enjoyment. 

Here's why: the temperature of wine majorly impacts both the wine's flavor and aroma. If wine is served too warm, you only taste the alcohol and bitterness in the wine. In contrast, serving a glass of wine too cold masks its acidity, fruit structure, and sweetness of a wine. But alas! At the right temperature, wine can be its very best self. At the perfect and ideal temperature, you'll discover its aroma, body, and flavor at its highest potential. We're finally starting to understand why Goldilocks was so opinionated and picky! She had her reasons!

So, How Long Do You Chill Wine For?

Here is the thing about chilling wine: not all wines need to be chilled, and they certainly aren't meant to be chilled to the same temperature. Because different varieties of wine have different chemical compositions, the chilling time dramatically varies. 

A white wine's chemical composition is acidity. In contrast, a red wine's chemical composition comes from its tannins. To make things even more complicated, dessert wines have different amounts of residual sugar. And, should we even mention that sparkline wine has carbon dioxide? Plus, all of these different kinds of wine have varying degrees of alcohol. Therefore, the temperature plays a significant role in either muting or accentuating a wine based on its chemical components. 

You don't have to be a wine expert to know that white wine is served cold. But have you ever really thought about the reason? Here's why: white wines are best served chilled is that the cold temperature boosts their aromas and acidity. However, there is a fine line between the perfect temperature and serving white wine too cold because when served too ice cold, the flavors become muted. Fuller-bodied white wines, such as Chardonnay and dessert wines, are their best selves when served between 50°F and 60°F. Fruitier, lighter wines like Sauvignon Blanc should be served slightly colder, between 45°F and 50°F. 

If you're enjoying sparkling wine, try to serve it between 40°F and 50°F. Why? Because have you ever had a carbonated soda served hot? It's not a great taste! CO2 stays trapped better in colder liquids, and therefore, the bubbly really shines when served cold. 

Do You Ever Need To Chill Red Wine?

Heck yes you do! According to wine experts, red wine is best served in the range of 55°F–65°F, even though they say that a room temperature bottle is optimal. When red wine is too cold, its flavor becomes dull. But when red wines are too warm, it becomes overbearing with alcohol flavor. Yuck! 

Therefore, wines that are lighter-bodied and have higher acidity, like Pinot Noir or Beaujolais, are best served slightly lower in temperature. We suggest putting them in a refrigerator around 90 minutes before serving. For fuller-bodied wines that are packed with tannins like Cabernet Sauvignon, you can serve these warmer, perhaps putting them in the fridge for around forty-five minutes before serving according to Kitchen Gearoid. Last but not least, for optimal taste in fortified wine, serve between 60°F–65°F.

Tips For Getting That Perfect Temp

Serving wine at the perfect temperature takes some planning ahead, and sometimes an ice bucket or wine chiller.  

Plan Ahead

When it comes to wine serving, if you are a type-A person, stick both red and white wines in the fridge and take them out around an or two before serving. Most refrigerators are set between 35°F and 40°F, and therefore, by taking them out an hour early, they can become the perfect temperature. 

Toss It In The Freezer

Putting wine in the freezer is a good, quick short-term solution. But here is the catch: ensure you don't leave your wine in the freezer for more than thirty minutes. Why? Any longer, and you put yourself at risk for a messy cleanup! As the water in wine freezes, it expands. Many times, this can force the cork to push out or crack the bottle! 

We're guessing we're not the only ones who have forgotten that we placed our wine in the freezer and the next day discovered an icy explosion that is a joy to clean up. Learn from our mistakes and make sure to set a timer! If you don't want to risk the freezer, you can also try submerging the entire bottle in ice water for an ice bath. 

Wrap It In A Wet Dish Cloth

If you're trying to chill wine as rapidly as possible, here's another trick! Wrap a damp towel (either a paper towel or a kitchen one) around your bottle and place it in the freezer. The wet towel will freeze very quickly due to the added surface area and, therefore, chill your wine a lot faster. But, as we previously stated, make sure you don't forget about your bottle! 

Another pro tip: when you remove the bottle from the freezer, you might find your wine and towel are frozen together. Simply run under lukewarm water, so the towel slides right off!

Reusable Ice Cubes

So many different companies are now using reusable ice cubes! These are great for chilling a your first glass, but of course, once they warm up, you'll have to refreeze. 

Cody Rigsby of Peloton has touted using frozen grapes in wine, and we're not about to disagree with Cody. 

Wine and Chilling Go Hand In Hand

We rest our case: the temperature of wine significantly impacts its delicious taste and quality!