What's the best way to warm up a cold glass of wine?

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,

I've noticed a big difference in the way a red wine tastes at room temperature vs. when it's chilled. I prefer my reds on the warmer side. How can I serve my reds at a temperature I like if my house is cold?

—Juliet, Peterborough, U.K.

Dear Juliet,

I agree that if wines are served too cold, their flavors and aromas can be suppressed. Of course, when they are too warm, they can seem overly alcoholic and flat.

So what’s the Goldilocks temperature for serving wine? Your own preference should be your guide, but the gerneral concensus among wine experts is that white wines show their best from about 40° to 50° F (or 5 to 10° C), while red wines are ideal at around 60° to 65° F (16 to 18° C).

If you’re pulling a wine out of a cellar (where it should be about 55° F/12° C), it takes about 30 to 60 minutes for it to warm up to an ideal temperature in most situations. But if your house is on the cold side and you want to speed that up, you can run it under warm (not hot!) water or put it in a warm bath for a bit. Or, pour it into a decanter. Or do both—put the wine in a decanter and then put the decanter in a warm bath.

There are some people who like to use a microwave to warm up wine, which can be a bit aggressive—you have to make sure you don’t overheat the wine. Never put a sealed container in there, nor any metal parts. I’d recommend pouring the wine into a microwave-safe glass or measuring cup and heat in increments of 5 seconds. You may already know this, but microwaves don’t heat beverages uniformly, so give the wine a stir or a swirl before taking a sip.

—Dr. Vinny

Ask Dr. Vinny Serving Wine

More In Dr. Vinny

What is the benefit of “keeping wine on the dregs”?

Wine Spectator's expert Dr. Vinny explains what a wine's "dregs" are and why some wines …

Jan 30, 2023

How do you soften a hard cork?

Wine Spectator's expert Dr. Vinny explains what happens after a wine bottle is opened, and …

Jan 24, 2023

How long can Champagne be stored in a wine cooler?

Wine Spectator's expert Dr. Vinny explains what happens as sparkling wine ages, how long it …

Jan 17, 2023

I shook a bottle of wine with sediment and now it's cloudy. Is it ruined?

Wine Spectator's expert Dr. Vinny explains where sediment comes from, and what to do if …

Jan 9, 2023

Can a cork-tainted bottle of wine cross-contaminate other bottles in my cellar?

Wine Spectator's expert Dr. Vinny explains how and when cork taint or TCA contamination …

Jan 3, 2023

Dr. Vinny’s Wine Care Clinic: Top Tips for Safekeeping Your Wine Bottles

Wine Spectator's expert Dr. Vinny answers all your wine storage and serving questions!

Dec 27, 2022