Are you drinking your wine at the correct temperature?

There’s nothing better than a crisp, chilled glass of Riesling on a hot summer’s day, or bunkering down over a warm, gluey Shiraz as winter frosts the windows. But are we drinking our vino at the best temperature for the wine? We’ve got it from the experts on what the best temps are for different tipples.

Mr and Mrs Romance - The correct temperature to drink wine

Most casual wine drinkers – Mrs Romance and myself included – run with the 2 wine-drinking rules of thumb: white wine should be chilled, red wine should be room temperature.

But there’s a problem.

What really is room temperature? In the sweltering Aussie summer, those with air con can get it down to maybe 19°C. Those without, the ambient room temperature can zoom up to the high 20s.

You see it was those loveable rogues, the Medieval French, who came up with these guidelines. And their places were a lot chillier than modern-day Sydney.

Room temperature really means around 14-18°C – a lot cooler than what I’d usually drink Shiraz. Other reds are recommended be served even cooler than that.

Mr and Mrs Romance - The correct temperature to drink wine

As for whites, it seems there is such a thing as too cold. Drinking wine straight from the fridge won’t let you taste all the flavours and in fact will probably bring out only the acidity of the wine.

So what is the best temperature to drink wine?

Well, there’s seems to be quite a lot of haggling over the exact temperature of different types of wine, but only by a couple of degrees.

The coldest you should have any wine is at about 6°C. The warmest (unless it’s that mulled wine stuff) is 18°C.

This is the general gist – with some of our favourites as examples:

–  The sweeter the white wine, the colder it should be served. Moscato and sparkling: 6-8°C.
–  Light, crisp wine does well at colder temperatures. Pinot Gris (Josef Chromy Pinot Gris) and Pinot Grigio: 7-10°C.
–  As the white wine gets drier or fuller bodied, the warmer it should be. Chardonnay (Scarborough Yellow Label Chardonnay): 10-12°C.
–  Good quality Chardonnays can even be served at 12-15°C.
–  Some wine can be sweeter or lighter depending on the winemaker like Riesling and Sauvignon Blanc (Wither Hills Sauvignon Blanc): 8-10°C.

Mr and Mrs Romance - The correct temperature to drink white wine

–  Rosés (Handpicked Regional Selection Rosé) should be served at around the 10-12°C.

–  Red wine follows similar principles. The lighter the red, the cooler it should be. Pinot Noir (Stoneleigh Wild Valley Pinot Noir) and Sangiovese: 12-14°C.
–  Darker, fruitier reds need to be warmer still – Tempranillo (Taylors Tempranillo) and Grenache: 14-16°C.
–  And the big reds with strong tannins and complex depth need to be even warmer. Shiraz (St Hallett Old Block Shiraz), Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec 16-18°C.

Mr and Mrs Romance - The correct temperature to drink wine

Of course without expensive wine fridges, which keep your wine at a very specific temperature, it’s really hard to get all this right. And the difference between 2 or 3 degrees isn’t going to make too much difference.

A simple way to do it is to use your fridge – but you don’t have to store your wine there. For whites, pop them in 2-3 hours before you want to drink them. This should chill them enough to drink immediately.

Otherwise, if it’s been in the fridge for a day or more, take the bottle out about 30 minutes before you drink it to let the wine warm up a bit.

For red wine, put the bottle in the fridge 20-25 minutes before you’re ready to crack it so that it can cool down a bit.

And if in doubt, pour your wine on the colder side as you can always warm it up in the glass with your hands.

Do you remember those Hypercolor T-shirts that were all the rage in the ‘80s?

Taylors is using ink in their wine labels that’s temperature-sensitive. You can see quite accurately when the wine’s ready to drink by the colour of the label.

Quite smart, I think.

Mr and Mrs Romance - The right temperature to drink wine

Do you prefer to drink your whites warmer? Do you sometimes drop an ice cube into your glass of red? Tell us how you like your wine in the comments below!

Images by Mrs Romance using an O-MD E-M10 Olympus camera.


  • Reply November 27, 2015

    Beth at

    I like the idea of the Hypercolor (god I loved my shirt!) labels. Coors Lager in the States have this on their labels and cans with the slogan “when the mountains turn blue, it’s as cold as the Rockies!” indicating it’s at optimal drinking temperature and I would happily support this across all beverages.

    • Reply November 29, 2015

      Mr Romance

      Ha ha! Love that idea with the beer, Beth! It’s such a clever way of putting that tech to good use. I had an orange Hypercolor T-shirt that turned yellow in the heat. I loved it so much but thinking back on it, it just showed up where I was probably sweating!

  • Reply November 27, 2015

    Sonia from Sonia Styling

    Oh my goodness, I love this post! Not just for the brilliant tips, but also because I have been known to tell people not to chill the white wine too much, because it just ends up “tasting like cold” – true story! Great work as always guys and bloody awesome photos too. x

    • Reply November 29, 2015

      Mr Romance

      Thank you, Sonia! You’re very sweet! And really glad you agree with this. It’s really hard to get out of the habit of over-chilling white wine and not cooling the reds enough – but I think I’ll really get into it. Cheers!

  • Reply November 3, 2016


    I think it’s really innovative how Taylors is putting those temperature indicators on their labels. For a long time I was also in the habit of drinking reds at actual room temperature, and with my AC usually set to 25, that was in fact far too warm.

    • Reply November 4, 2016

      Mr Romance

      I totally agree, Ryan. I think it’s a really clever idea too. It’s quite a surprise when you taste a wine which has been stored at the correct temp – especially the reds like you say.
      Cheers – Jim

  • […] In fact there’s a lot to over-chilling your wine and drinking wine at the wrong temperature makes a huge difference to its flavour. Check out our story on the right temperature for different wines here. […]

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