Wine Too Cold? Effects and How to Fix It

You’ve retrieved a wine from the fridge or cellar and realize it’s overly chilled. If your wine is a little cold, you can usually solve it by letting the wine warm up naturally. But if the wine has been at near-freezing temperatures, its development might be negatively affected.

In this guide, we’ll discuss why wine should not be too cold and what you can do if you accidentally chilled it too much.

Key Takeaway

  • Slightly Cold: Let it sit at room temperature for 20-30 minutes (Red wine) and 5-10 minutes (White & Sparkling wine).
  • Very Cold: Submerge the bottom of the bottle in a bowl of lukewarm water (not hot!). Swirl gently until it reaches the desired temperature.
  • Never use a microwave to warm up wine. It will ruin the flavors.
  • If you have time, decanting the wine can help bring it to temperature by aerating it and increasing its surface area.
  • Aim to store wines around 55°F (13°C), especially for long-term aging.
  • Storing slightly below the ideal is okay for wines you’ll drink soon, but avoid freezing or prolonged storage in very cold conditions.

The storage temperature of wine is closely linked to its ideal serving temperature. Whether wine is too warm or too cold, it can significantly impact the flavor and aroma. Recognizing the signs of wine being too warm or too cold is crucial for maintaining the quality of your wine.

What to do if wine is too cold?

Alright, so you’ve got a bottle of wine that’s a bit too cold for your liking. Maybe you just retrieved it from the fridge, or perhaps your friend accidentally left it in the freezer. Here ‘s what you can do to bring it back to the ideal temperature.

Red Wine

Red wines generally prefer slightly warmer temperatures (55-65°F) compared to white wines (45-55°F). If your red wine is just slightly cold, let it sit at room temperature for 20-30 minutes.

Warm Water Bath

But if the wine is still too cold, you can try submerge the bottom of the bottle in a bowl of lukewarm water (not hot!). Swirl gently until it reaches the desired temperature.


Now, if you’re not in a big rush and have got a little bit of time on your hands, decanting the wine is a fabulous idea. Pouring the wine into a decanter does more than just make you look like a wine connoisseur; it actually helps warm it up!

Aerating the wine and increasing its surface area, decanting allows the wine to breathe and gradually come to the perfect temperature.

However, if your red wine has been stored at near-freezing temperatures for an extended period, its development might have been negatively affected. In this case, it’s best to let it thaw slowly in the refrigerator or at room temperature, not too quickly as this can damage the wine’s flavors. It may take a few hours to thaw completely, but it will prevent any shocking changes in flavor and aroma.

White and Sparkling Wine

For White and Sparkling Wine, being a bit on the chilly side isn’t usually a big deal since these wines are generally served chilled.

You can follow the same steps as red wines if they are just slightly cold. Allow white or sparkling wine to rest at room temperature for 5-10 minutes. If they’re still too cold, you can also try the warm water bath method.

However, if your wine has accidentally frozen, it’s likely compromised. Freezing alters the wine’s structure and may push out the cork or even crack the bottle. Unfortunately, thawed wine is usually not salvageable.

How cold is too cold?

As we talk about wine getting too cold, let’s distinguish between storing your bottles and serving them for drinking.

Storage “Too Cold”

Wine starts to freeze around 15-20°F (-9 to -6°C). This is definitely too cold for storage! Freezing wine can push out the cork, crack the bottle, and irreversibly alter the wine’s composition and flavor.

Aim to store wines around 55°F (13°C), especially for long-term aging. Temperatures under the ideal range (55°F/13°C) won’t freeze wine, they significantly slow down the aging process. This isn’t harmful in the short-term but can impact the wine’s intended development if it’s stored that way for years.

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For bottles you’re planning to drink in the next few months, having them a touch warmer than the long-term aging ideal is perfectly okay, so long as those temps aren’t bouncing around like a yo-yo. Keep it steady, and your wine will be just fine.

What are the ideal serving temperatures for different types of wine?

  • Long-term aging: 50-59°F (10-15°C) is optimal.
  • Reds and full-bodied whites: Store towards 55°F (13°C).
  • Sparkling and light whites: Store towards 50°F (10°C).

Alright, now that we’ve navigated the chilly waters of too-cold wine and how to get it just right, don’t you think it’s time to peek into the world of Ideal Storage Temperature?

Serving “Too Cold”

Serving temperatures vary based on the type of wine. There isn’t a specific “too cold” temperature since preferences differ. While some prefer extra chilled whites and sparkling, most wine experts recommend the following ranges as a good starting point:

  • Light White & Sparkling: 45-50°F (7-10°C)
  • Full-bodied White: 50-55°F (10-13°C)
  • Red: 55-65°F (13-18°C)

When wine is too cold, the flavors and aromas are harder to perceive, making it difficult to fully appreciate the wine.

It’s common for restaurants and bars to store their wines at a consistent temperature, typically around 55°F (13°C), regardless of the type. Red wine will need a few minutes in your glass to warm up, and whites might need a few minutes in an ice bucket to cool down.


Does serving wine too cold affect its taste?

Yes, cold temps suppress volatile compounds that give wine its aroma. Chilling can mask fruity, floral, spicy, or earthy notes. In reds, cold can amp up tannins, making them harsh. Cold wine can overly sharpen acidity, losing balance and freshness.

How to warm up a bottle of red wine that’s been chilled for too long?

The best way to warm up a bottle of red wine that has been chilled for too long is to let it thaw slowly in the refrigerator or at room temperature. Avoid using a microwave as this can damage the flavors of the wine. If you are in a hurry, you can also try submerging the bottom of the bottle in lukewarm water and swirling gently until it reaches the desired temperature.

Can I still drink a bottle of white wine that got too cold?

Yes, you can still drink a bottle of white wine that got too cold! Some white wines, like Sauvignon Blanc, are typically served on the cooler side. You might not need to warm them up as much as other varietals. Ultimately, the most important factor is your enjoyment. If the wine is still too cold for your taste, you can still drink it. However, by warming it slightly, you might discover a more pleasant and flavorful experience.

Is 45 degrees too cold for red wine?

Yes, 45 degrees Fahrenheit (7 degrees Celsius) is too cold for most red wines. At 45°F, the volatile compounds responsible for a red wine’s aroma and flavor become less pronounced. You won’t experience the full range of fruit, floral, spice, or earthy notes the wine has to offer.

Can wine be left in a cold car?

Wine’s freezing point is around 15-20°F (-9 to -6°C). If the temperature in your car dips below that for a prolonged period, the wine will freeze. Freezing expands the liquid, which can push out the cork or even crack the bottle, ruining the wine.


To wrap things up, taking care of your wine’s temperature is crucial for a better drinking experience. Make sure to store your bottles at a consistent temperature around 55°F (13°C) for optimal long-term aging. When serving, aim for the recommended ranges depending on the type of wine to fully appreciate its flavors and aromas. If your wine does get too cold, don’t worry – there are ways to warm it up without compromising its taste.

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Williams T. Edwards
Williams T. Edwards, the visionary founder of Williams Minneapolis, has not only shaped a vibrant and dynamic venue but has also brought his expertise in wine coolers to the forefront of the local scene. This unique establishment, with its blend of history and modernity, invites patrons to experience its welcoming ambiance, diverse beverage selection, and entertainment options. Whether you're a local looking for a reliable favorite or a visitor seeking a memorable night out, Williams Minneapolis is a must-visit destination in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
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