How cold should my white wine be? How cold should my red wine be? What temperature should I store my wine at? These are very subjective subjects. From serving to storing wine, there are probably some fairly correct answers to these questions. People have been storing and drinking wine for thousands of years now and if we have not dialed it in yet; we should give up!
There are 3 things to consider when storing wine, or ageing wine; Light, Temperature and Humidity.
Light: Direct sunlight or incandescent light can potentially create faults in the wine. Lighter body wines tend to be more susceptible to damage. Wines packaged in clear or light green or blue bottles are in more danger as well. In general, any sort of strong light should be avoided when storing wine.
Humidity: Humidity is actually necessary for proper storage of wine. Its purpose is to keep the cork from drying out. If the cork dries out it exposes the wine to potential oxidation which spoils the wine. About 70% humidity is thought to be ideal for long term wine storage, but this is under debate.
Temperature: Temperature is very important in wine. If wine is stored for a long period of time in a hot environment (excess of 80 degrees f) the wine may become “cooked” or taste raisiny. If wine is frozen it can cause expansion which will normally push the cork out. Ideal temperature for wine storage is between 50 and 60 degrees f. Also multiple warming and cooling drastically can have a negative effect on the wine.
This is a little more subjective in my opinion, but there are some generalities in proper serving temperature.
Light, dry white wine (Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, Champagne): 40-50 degrees Fahrenheit.
Full Bodied White (Chardonnay, Viognier): 50-60 degrees Fahrenheit. A little warmer temperature allows the complexities to come out.
Light bodied reds (Pinot, Gamay): 60-65 degrees Fahrenheit. Some even prefer these wines to be more chilled.
Full bodied reds (Cab, Syrah): 65 degrees Fahrenheit. Warmer than the cellar but cooler than the room.
I once heard that Americans drink their white wine too cold and their red wine too warm… I think there is some truth to that. In the end it is up to you and what you enjoy!