Is Your Wine Too Warm? Signs and Solutions

Ever opened a bottle of wine only to find it’s warmer than your ideal sipping temp? Even if a bottle of wine has not been opened, exposure to high temperatures can still affect its quality. There’s an ideal serving temp for different types of wine, and straying too far from it can really throw off the flavor balance.

But don’t sweat it (and don’t let your wine do that, either).

There are plenty of quick-fix methods to cool down that bottle. Stick around, and we’ll spill the secrets to chilling your wine to perfection, so you can savour every sip.

Key Takeaways:

If you’re in the mood for a pour and didn’t have time to chill your wine beforehand, we’ve got some tried-and-true tricks that will do the trick:

  • Fill a bucket with half ice and half cold water. Submerge the bottle for 10-20 minutes.
  • 30 minutes in the fridge can bring down the temperature significantly.
  • Add a few frozen grapes (of the same variety as the wine) to a glass to gently cool it without dilution.
  • Don’t Use Regular Ice, It melts and waters down the wine too much.

Ideal serving temperatures

Different wine types have varying ideal serving temperatures. Red wines generally prefer slightly warmer temperatures than white wines or sparkling wines.

Here’s the lowdown on getting those temps right for the perfect glass:

  • Reds: Aim for a cozy sweet spot a bit below room temp, around 60-65°F (15-18°C). If reds get too warm, they lose their vibrant fruity notes and taste off.
  • Whites: Keep these chilled, around 45-55°F (7-12°C). Warm whites lose their refreshing acidity and delicate aromatics.
  • Sparkling: Serve very cold, 40-45°F (4-7°C), to keep the bubbles and crisp flavors intact.

But hey, knowing the perfect sipping temps is only half the game. Making sure storing wine under prime conditions to begin with. Reading our how to properly store wine in warmer climates article for some expert tips. Cheers to enjoying your vino at its best!

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What to do when wine is too warm?

It’s usually better to serve wine slightly cooler than ideal, as it will naturally warm up in the glass anyway. But, if the wine is only slightly warm, chilling will likely restore its best qualities.

I know what you’re thinking: stick it in the fridge, right?

While this is an option, it’s not always the best one. Depending on how warm your wine is, there are different approaches to cooling it down.

Keep reading for our top tips.

Wine Coolers or Refrigerator

If your wine is just a notch above room temperature, simply pop the bottle in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes before you’re ready to serve. This little chill session won’t harm your wine but will bring it down to a more palatable temperature, enhancing those deep, rich flavors we all love in a good wine.

Using ice bath

How to cool down a bottle of warm red wine quickly for immediate enjoyment?

If you’re in a rush or just didn’t plan ahead (totally happens to the best of us), the ice bath trick is your go-to move. However, avoid drastic temperature shocks, as they can negatively affect the wine’s flavors.

Here’s the quick rundown:

  • Fill a bucket or container with ice and cold water (about 50/50 ratio).
  • Submerge the bottle in the ice bath, ensuring the liquid level reaches the neck.
  • Gently swirl the bottle occasionally to distribute the chill evenly.
  • Sparkling wines may take up to 30 minutes to reach the optimal chill, while white wines should be ready to tickle your taste buds in just 10-15 minutes. Red wines will take shorter time than white but longer time than sparkling wine to chill, usually around 20 minutes.

Use chilled wine glasses

Another neat trick is to serve your white and sparkling wines in glasses that have been chilled in the fridge for a bit. This doesn’t take much prep; just slip your glasses into the refrigerator for about 10-15 minutes before you pour.

Add frozen grapes

Don’t use regular ice, it melts and waters down the wine too much. Adding frozen grapes will gently lower the temperature of your wine without watering it down, keeping those crisp, fruity flavors intact, particularly genius for white wines, where you’re aiming for cool but not cold. Wine too cold will not release its full flavor.

They look pretty fancy floating in your glass, giving off those luxe summer vibes, right?

Just pop a few grapes in the freezer a couple of hours before your wine time, and you’re all set for a chill session.

At what temperature does wine spoil?

Alright, so here’s the scoop on temperature and your wine’s well-being.

Generally, wine starts to get into trouble when it’s exposed to temps above 70°F (about 21°C) for a prolonged period. That’s when the heat can begin to cook the wine, messing up its flavors and aromas—essentially, turning your delightful drink into something far less pleasant.

But here’s the kicker: serious spoilage jumps into hyperdrive at temperatures over 80°F (about 27°C). That’s when you risk having the cork pop out a bit or the wine beginning to expand and leak around the cork. Not a pretty sight.

Can red wine go bad if it’s too cold?

Can your red wine get the shivers and go bad? Well, not exactly. While extreme cold, especially temperatures that drop to freezing, can cause the liquid to expand and potentially push out the cork or crack the bottle, it won’t spoil the wine in the same way heat does. However, if it gets too cold and then warms up rapidly, that could mess with the wine’s integrity, potentially messing with its textures or causing some unintended fermentation vibes.

Once chilled, must a wine stay chilled? Is it ruined if it warms up again?

Not necessarily! While it’s best to serve and drink wine at its ideal temperature, a slight change in temp won’t ruin the entire bottle. However, if you do find your chilled wine has warmed up and you want to cool it down again, avoid using the freezer (unless it’s an emergency). Instead, use one of the methods listed above to ensure your wine stays at its best.

Can you drink heat damaged wine?

It’s not recommended. Heat damaged wine can have off flavors and aromas, making it less enjoyable to drink. If you suspect your wine has been exposed to high temperatures for an extended period, it’s best to avoid drinking it altogether. But, if you do end up with a heat-damaged bottle, you can try using it in recipes or cooking with it instead. Waste not, want not!

What if unopened wine gets warm?

Even if a bottle of wine has not been opened, exposure to high temperatures can still affect its quality. The heat can cause the flavors and aromas to become muted or even spoiled. If you find yourself in this situation, it’s best to err on the side of caution and not drink the wine. It’s always better to enjoy your wine at its best rather than risk a

How to Tell if Wine is Heat Damaged?

Heat can drastically alter the flavor and aroma of wine, making it unpleasant to drink. To spot a heat-damaged wine, experts look at three things: how it looks, smells, and tastes.

I’ll dive into the causes and how to spot them in detail.


Bulging cork, leaking cork and discolored wine are the first signs can be seen with the naked eye that the bottle has been exposed to high temperatures.

Bulging cork is a clear sign of heat damage. This indicates that the wine has been subjected to high temperatures, causing the liquid inside to expand and press against the cork. If you see this, it’s best not to open the bottle.

A leaking cork can also indicate heat damage. The pressure from expanding wine can force the cork out of its position slightly, allowing air to enter the bottle. This can alter the taste and aroma of the wine, making it unpleasant.

Heat damage can also be seen in the color of the wine. If you see any browning or cloudiness in white wines, or a deepening of color in red wines, there’s a high chance that they’ve been exposed to heat.

Smell & Taste

Cooked fruit smell, oxidized notes or flat and unexpressive flavours are signs of heat damage. High temperatures can cause the compounds in wine to break down, resulting in a lack of complexity and depth in flavor.

Cooked fruit smell occur when the wine is exposed to temperatures that are too high for an extended period of time, causing fruit flavors in the wine to become overripe, resulting in a jammy or stewed smell. You may also notice that the fresh fruit flavor is dulled or completely overwhelmed by the cooked fruit flavor when you taste it.

Oxidized notes can also be detected in heat-damaged wines due to oxygen entering through a leaking cork, if your wine smells like wet cardboard, sherry, or has vinegar-like sharpness, it’s likely been oxidized as a result of heat exposure.

Exposure to heat can cause the acidity of the wine to deteriorate, resulting in a loss of its crisp and refreshing balance that complements its depth and complexity. Additionally, a disagreeable bitter or metallic aftertaste is a common indicator of heat-damaged wine.

How to prevent wine heat damage?

Store your wine in a cool, dark place with consistent temperatures between 50-60°F (10-15°C) is the best way to prevent your wine from heat damage. Avoid storing it near any heat sources, such as a stove or radiator, and never leave it in a hot car for extended periods.

If you’re planning on transporting wine, make sure to keep it in a temperature-controlled environment or use insulated bags to protect it from extreme heat.

Lastly, always check the weather before shipping wine and consider using expedited shipping options to avoid having your wine sitting in a hot warehouse or delivery truck for too long.


In short, heat can significantly impact the quality of your wine. If you suspect your wine may have been damaged by heat, look for visual signs such as a bulging or leaking cork, and be aware of any off smells or flavors when tasting. As they say, prevention is better than cure! So take care of your wine, and it will take care of you.

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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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