Australians have spent a lifetime keeping their white wine chilled in the fridge and red wine in the cupboard or on the wine rack at room temperature, and it is no different for many of our casual restaurants and cafes across the nation.

According to a study conducted with IPSOS, eight out of 10 Australians drink their red wine ‘at room temperature.’ While this may seem like normal behaviour, our warm Australian climate is having a negative impact on the flavour of our favourite red wines.

Room temperature in Australia is far warmer than the 14°C medieval French drawing rooms where this idea originated. So why haven’t we changed the way we store and consume our red wines?

Pulling that bottle of Shiraz off the counter of your 22°C temperature controlled bar area means the wine is being served at this temperature, and inadvertently being consumed by your patrons at the incorrect temperature. A red wine lightly chilled, as per industry expert recommendations, including the Court of Master Sommeliers, brings out the wine’s fruit and oak characteristics, while taming those harsh alcohol and tannic flavours and aromas.

And white wine isn’t exempt from the temperature discussion either. While nothing may seem more refreshing than a cool glass of Chardonnay poured straight from the fridge, our traditional bar and drink fridges (often set to 4°C) are far too cold to be enjoying wine. White wines served too cold from these fridges are tight, meaning the flavours are sharp and muted with the acidity being more pronounced.

So what is a restaurant or caf to do?

There are obvious options available on the market, particularly temperature controlled wine fridges that store wine at the correct temperature depending on the variety. There are also various wine preservation systems that come with thermostats.

Other less expensive options could be to use simple to read commercial wine thermometers that can read the temperature of the wine.

At Taylors, we’ve worked with our winemakers as well as experts and researchers in the industry to launch the Optimum Drinking Temperature sensors. These sensors, available on our Promised Land and Estate wines, change colour to indicate when a red, white or sparkling wine is at its optimum temperature.

These sensors use thermo-chromatic ink technology to change colour depending on the temperature of the wine. All restaurant or caf operators need to do is put the bottle of wine in the fridge to see the colour of the sensor change instantly – if the colour goes too far one way, let the wine rest to the correct temperature.

We’ve also compiled a scale to indicate the different temperatures each variety is best served at.

  • For Moscato, Sparkling, Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Gris, keep the wines between 6C-8C;
  • Riesling and unwooded Chardonnay is 8C-10C;
  • Chardonnay 10C-12C;
  • Pinot Noir 12C-14C;
  • Tempranillo 14C-16C;
  • Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Shiraz at 16C-18C.

Imagine being able to extend the service period of red wine at your establishment all summer long because you’ve educated your guests on how refreshing a red wine can be after it’s been lightly chilled? With the average price of red wine being 19 percent more than white (Nielsen National Scan Sales 23/08/2015), changing the drinking habits of your consumers could bring you a noticeable increase in red wine sales all year long.

At the end of the day, wine is best enjoyed how you like it (no matter the temperature), but if we can help shed light on an issue that most Australians don’t know they have, we’ll be able to increase wine consumers’ enjoyment and appreciation  of wine for years to come. 

Mitchell Taylor is MD of Taylors Wines

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