Wine for Normal People Radio: Ep 092 — Serving Wine at the Right Temperature

Our last episode of 2013 was on a hugely important wine topic: serving temperatures. Seems trivial but a wine served too warm or too cold will taste totally different from one served at the Goldilocks temperature. If you get it wrong, you could misjudge a great wine.

In this podcast we give you tips and tricks for getting the right temperature for your wine and talk about why it matters. Take a listen and check out the chart below for reference!


General Temperature Guidelines:

  • Dry whites, sparkling: 40˚ – 50˚ F/ (4˚ – 10˚ C)
  • Roses: 45˚-55° F /(7˚-13° C)
  • Full bodied whites, lighter reds: 50˚ – 60˚ F/ (10˚ – 16˚ C)
  • Full bodied reds: 60˚- 65˚ F/ (16˚ -18˚ C)
Specific Wines  Approximate Temperatures
  • Vinho Verde
  • Ice Wine
  • Muscadet
  • White Rioja (cheap)
 40˚ – 45˚ F /(4˚ – 7˚ C)
  • Champagne and sparkling (cheap a little colder)
  • Rosé
  • Sauvignon Blanc based wines (Pouilly Fume, Sancerre)
  • Chenin Blanc-based wines (Saviennieres, Vouvray)
  • Chablis and white Burgundy
  • White Bordeaux
  • White Rhône
  • Riesling
  • Alsace whites/varieties
  • Tokaji
  • Sauternes
  • White  and Tawny Port
  • Fino Sherry


 45˚- 50˚ F /(7˚ -10˚ C)
  • Chardonnay
  • Better white Burgundy
  • Viognier
 50˚ – 55˚ F/(10˚ – 13˚ C)
  • Pinot Noir (Burgundy)
  • Valpolicella
  • Chianti
  • Rioja
  • Aged Tawny Port, Ruby Port
  • Madeira
 55˚ – 60˚ F/ (13˚  – 16˚ C)
  • Red Bordeaux
  • Northern & Southern Rhône wines (Châteauneuf-du-Pape)
  • Barolo
  • Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Merlot
  • Zinfandel
  • Brunello
  • Shiraz
  • New World Pinot Noir
  • Fuller Sherries: Amontillados, Olorosos
  • Vintage Port
 60 ˚ – 65˚ F/ (16˚ – 18˚ C)


Thanks for listening! Enjoy!


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Podcast music: “Café connection” by morgantj / CC BY 3.0, ©2009 – Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution (3.0)Map: Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported2.5 Generic2.0 Generic and 1.0 Generic license

  • Steve Wolf

    Ahhh! I’ve been serving my Vinho Verde too warm!! I have a wine fridge which holds 30 bottles. I can set the thermostat to whatever I want the “average” temp to be in the “middle” of the fridge. I’ve been setting this at 55 degrees. It gets up to five degrees warmer near the top and five degrees colder near the bottom so I put the reds near the top (55-60 degrees) and the whites and bubbles near the bottom (50-55 degrees). I’ve been keeping my ports at room temperature. I guess I need to do some tweaking :)

    PS Isn’t Vinho Verde awesome!!??

    • Elizabeth Schneider

      Hey Steve,

      I think Vinho Verde is definitely best pretty cold. A little warmer and it starts to taste flat. Have you tried it colder since the podcast? LMK how that goes!

      I think 55˚ is a great temperature for storage and I think you’re doing great. That’s exactly what we do. I actually prefer single-zone fridges because I think the dual zone break more often. Simplicity is key to keeping a wine fridge going!

      Remember that there’s a difference between storing your wine and preparing to drink it. 55 or thereabouts is great for storage — it will ensure the wine is preserved and there are no problems with it.

      When you’re serving a wine, you may have to chill it or warm it a bit, but as long as it’s already at 55, you don’t have a long way to go from there to get to the ideal temperature.

      Thanks for listening and writing!

  • Steve

    What are the consequences of storing wine in the fridge? What happens at 39 degrees that doesn’t happen at 40 degrees (the low end of the range you mention in your podcast)? Wine won’t freeze?

    Thanks for responding,