How can I make sure my wine is at the right serving temperature?

Ask Dr Vinny

Hello there! I'm Dr. Vinifera, but you can call me Vinny. Ask me your toughest wine questions, from the fine points of etiquette to the science of winemaking. And don't worry, I'm no wine snob—you can also ask me those "dumb questions" you're too embarrased to ask your wine geek friends! I hope you find my answers educational, empowering and even amusing. And don't forget to check out my most asked questions and my full archives for all my Q&A classics.

Dear Dr. Vinny,

How can I make sure my wine is at the right serving temperature?

—Nadav, Galed, Israel

Dear Nadav,

Temperature is important to consider both for storing and aging wine and for serving wine, but when it comes to wine service, you should follow your own tastes and preferences. Just keep in mind that the warmer a wine is served, the more prominent the alcohol will seem, and the colder it’s served, the more muted the flavors and aromas will become.

There are a few simple and reliable ways to track the temperature of your wine that don’t require you to literally drop a thermometer into your glass (although that works too). Flexible thermometer cuffs that fit around a wine bottle are available for as little as $10 and can give you a fairly accurate reading (the wine inside may not always match the temperature of the bottle’s surface, but it should be pretty close in most cases).

For a little more money—starting at around $25—an infrared thermometer can give you an exact temperature of the wine itself after it's been poured into a glass or decanter. It’s a pretty simple point-and-shoot operation that provides a digital reading of the wine’s temperature. Be sure to look for infrared thermometers specifically designed for cooking; infrared thermometers designed for taking the temperatures of human beings won’t be as accurate.

—Dr. Vinny

Ask Dr. Vinny Serving Wine

More In Dr. Vinny

Can a wine stored in ideal conditions outlast its recommended drink window?

Wine Spectator's expert Dr. Vinny explains recommended drinking windows for aging wine.

Feb 15, 2021

Are new oak barrels toasted and filled with wine before they’re sold?

Wine Spectator's expert Dr. Vinny explains why barrels are toasted, and how a wine barrel's …

Feb 8, 2021

How do you open a bottle of wine that has a wax capsule?

Wine Spectator's expert Dr. Vinny explains how to deal with wax-topped wine bottles, …

Feb 1, 2021

Where do wine club wines come from?

Wine Spectator's expert Dr. Vinny explains where private label wines come from, and what …

Jan 25, 2021

What’s the difference between Brix, Baumé, Oechsle and residual sugar?

Wine Spectator's expert Dr. Vinny explains why measuring sugar content in grapes is so …

Jan 18, 2021

Will my wines get too cold in the garage?

Wine Spectator's expert Dr. Vinny covers the pitfalls of storing wine in the garage, …

Jan 11, 2021