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
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.