Correct wine serving temperature?

by Scott Harvey on March 30, 2012


 As a winemaker, I am often asked what is the best temperature to serve white and red wines.  We always hear that white should be served at cellar temperature and red wine at room temperature.  I don’t agree with this.  I feel my wines, produced more in the old world style with higher acidity and lower alcohol, are best served a little cooler.  I like my whites at 45 to 55 degrees and my reds at 55 to 65 degrees.  Try it for yourself.

With a meal, if I pull the white out at 45 degrees or the red at 55 degrees it will warm up 10 degrees over the time that the wine is being enjoyed.  When the wines warm up past these temperatures, the acidity is no longer crisp enough to cut the fats produced by the food and they no longer work as well with the meal.

When you sit down to a meal and take that first bit, it tastes great.  The second bite is good.  But, the third bite does not taste as good as the first one.  When you took that first bite, your taste buds were craving the fats in the food.  After the third bite, the fats have built up enough that you no longer crave them as much.  But, ahhh, that first sip of wine.  Wine is acid and after three bites of food, a sip of wine washes out the fats and restores your taste buds to where they were when you took the first bite.  If the wine gets too warm the bright acidity does not wash the fats out as well and the wine will not taste as good as it should, because its ability to wash out the fats is diminished.

What temperature do you prefer your wines?

CLICK HERE to view our guide for recommended serving temperatures.  For example, Barbera tastes best between 53 and 59 degrees.  20 minutes in the refrigerator should do it.  You can try this for yourself with our 2009 Scott Harvey J&S Reserve Barbera which just won a Gold Medal at the California State Fair Competition.

Scott Harvey Barbera

Gold Medal winning Scott Harvey Barbera

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Vanny July 5, 2012 at 9:42 am

I enjoy wine, but can’t grasp intricacies like this on my own. Happy to have found this post and this blog 🙂


Jana Harvey July 5, 2012 at 2:49 pm

Thanks, Vanny. That’s what makes wine so interesting. There’s so much to learn. Glad we can help and you can always contact us if you have any questions on wine.


the drunken cyclist July 23, 2012 at 5:02 pm

Great write-up and a very informative blog. I will be back! A lot!


Scott Harvey July 24, 2012 at 11:06 am

Being a cyclist, I find your blog name “the drunken cyclist” intriguing.
Scott Harvey


Michelle September 28, 2012 at 11:33 pm

Hi Scott, this is a really useful guide… but I don’t suppose you have a chart using Celsius? I could use a converter but this picture is so handy.
Thank you!


Scott Harvey October 2, 2012 at 9:50 am

Hi Michelle,
I’ll see if I can go in and edit it with the celcius numbers.


Monica Bennion October 8, 2012 at 8:13 pm

Hi Michelle,

Thank you so much for your suggestion. We have created a chart using Celsius and have posted it on our site. You can find it here.



Leave a Comment

{ 1 trackback }

Previous post:

Next post: