Correct temperature for storage and service of red wines

Australians have spent a lifetime keeping their white wine chilled in the fridge and red wine in the cupboard or on the wine rack at room temperature, and it is no different for many of our casual restaurants and cafes across the nation.

Eight out of 10 Australians drink their red wine ‘at room temperature.’ While this may seem like normal behaviour, our warm Australian climate is having a negative impact on the flavour of our favourite red wines.

Room temperature in Australia is far warmer than the 14°C medieval French drawing rooms where this idea originated. So why haven’t we changed the way we store and consume our red wines?

Pulling that bottle of Shiraz off the counter of your 22°C temperature controlled bar area means the wine is being served at this temperature, and inadvertently being consumed by your patrons at the incorrect temperature. A red wine lightly chilled, as per industry expert recommendations, including the Court of Master Sommeliers, brings out the wine’s fruit and oak characteristics, while taming those harsh alcohol and tannic flavours and aromas.

Some wine makers are now adding ‘Optimal Drinking Temperature Sensors’ to their wine bottle labels, which use thermo-chromatic ink technology to change colour depending on the temperature of the wine. All restaurant or café operators need to do is put the bottle of wine in the fridge to see the colour of the sensor change instantly – if the colour goes too far one way, let the wine rest or chill to the correct temperature.

Correct Wine Temperature Scale:

  • For Moscato, Sparkling, Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Gris, keep the wines between 6˚C-8˚C;
  • Riesling and unwooded Chardonnay is 8˚C-10˚C;
  • Chardonnay 10˚C-12˚C;
  • Pinot Noir 12˚C-14˚C
  • Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Shiraz at 16˚C-18˚C.