Will it ruin my wines to store them at serving temperature?

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Dear Dr. Vinny,

My husband and I are new to wine. He bought me a dual-zone wine cooler. Will it ruin the wines to store them at serving temperature for the long term?

—Sarena, Kansas

Dear Sarena,

The short answer is no, it will not ruin your wine, and think of it this way: it’s better than the alternative, if the alternative is for it to not have any temperature control at all.

When it comes to wine, while there’s technically a difference between serving temperature and storing temperature, in the bigger picture, they’re pretty similar. The temperature advice for storing wine—all types of wine—is a constant 55 degrees F. There’s a lot of experience with storing wine at about this temperature, so it’s the standard folks are referring to when they talk about long-term storage.

Serving temperatures vary according to taste, but whites are typically served around 40 to 50 degrees F, and reds at 60 to 65ish. To give you some context, “room temperature” is about 70 degrees F, and most standard refrigerators get down to about 35. Keep in mind that temperature stability is as important as keeping a wine chilled—swings in temperature can cause premature aging or tempt the fate of a cork or other seal. And repeat after me: a refrigerator is not a good place to store wine, as it is not the same thing as a wine cooler.

—Dr. Vinny

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