Wine Health 101: How to keep wine cool during a Seattle heatwave
Summer in the Pacific Northwest has finally come! It feels like winter lasts for 8 long months around here. That isn’t an exaggeration considering that Seattle only averages 58 sunny days a year. As for the rest of Seattle’s days, we average 226 cloudy days and 81 partly cloudy days. Of all those days, we get 155 days of rain a year.
Our recent “heat wave” has brought us all into a blissful state of uplifted spirits and a constant party atmosphere (while it lasts). Since we aren’t used to hot weather, it has also brought us to our neighborhood hardware stores seeking out air conditioners and portable fans. Admittedly, I didn’t know what the abbreviation “A/C” was until I was 18 years old while in a rental car in Honolulu. While we try to find ways of keeping cool and comfortable, let’s not forget that our pets and wines need some help coping with the heat as well.
(The title of this post is a variation of the title of a great article by Maureen Finn at Examiner.com regarding pet health concerns during the hot summer months. Don’t forget your furry friends!)
Most importantly, get (keep) your wine collection out of the heat!
When it comes to storing and serving wine, temperature, which is often ignored, can bring the best and worst out in a bottle of wine. High temperature (>65ºF) causes the wine to age prematurely, thus losing its flavor and balance. When chilled too cold, the wine also loses its flavor and aromas. Keep the wines away from sunlight and heat exposure; store them in cellars, wine fridge, and or temperature controlled rooms (thanks to Jona, we now store our wine in the basement). Wide fluctuation in temperature will damage the wine and the cork. Ideal range of temperature for storing red wine is 50-55ºF or 10-16ºC. White wines can be stored at lower range down to around 45ºF.
The wine serving temperature chart below from BetterTastingWine.com recommends serving temperature for varietals. In the meantime, enjoy your summer and think twice before complaining about how hot it is. The sun will disappear soon enough!