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,
After reading that whites should be tasted at 40–50 degrees F while most reds are optimal at 60–65 degrees, is there a simple way to measure the bottle temperature without opening the bottle?
Yes! There are a few devices to gauge a wine bottle’s temperature. For less than $10, you can get a reusable bottle thermometer that's shaped like a flexible cuff. It wraps around a bottle of wine, and as long as the entire thing is in contact with the bottle (which means that depending on the bottle shape, you might need to hold the cuff to ensure contact), you can get a reasonably good reading of the temperature of the bottle and assume the wine inside is about the same.
Starting around $20, you can get a gadget called a non-contact infrared thermometer. You just point the handheld device at a bottle of wine and it gives you a digital display. It's kind of fun to also point it at grills, fish tanks and cups of coffee.