Can You Put Wine in the Freezer? Does it Get Better?

Have you ever tried to freeze a bottle of Champagne or red wine? Have you ever wondered whether it’s safe or not? Perhaps you want to know how to chill a bottle of wine quickly without it freezing, or if it’s possible to use frozen wine for culinary purposes. In this article we will discuss what to do with your favorite wine and how to go about freezing it. 

Learn the differences between which types of wine to freeze, the exact temperature at which they should be kept, as well as the safety measures to consider before and after freezing the wine in order to make the most out of it.

Short Summary

  • The freezing point of wine varies depending on alcohol content and some other components

  • Freeze wine with caution, as it can lead to freezer burn, changes in flavor and aroma and oxidation

  • It is best to freeze wine when preserving partially opened bottles of aged red wine, while other methods such as ice and salt mixtures or refrigeration are best to chill wine without freezing it.

Should You Put Wine in the Freezer?

No, it is not advisable to put wine in the freezer to chill it. It’s better to chill it in an ice bucket using salt or store it in the refrigerator. If you wrap a bottle of room temperature (70°F) wine in a damp towel and place it in the freezer to cool down, it will take around 40 minutes for it to cool to 50°F.

Freezing wine is a controversial endeavor, as most people would consider the risks to outweigh the benefits. It can have drastic effects on its quality, changing the taste and the wine bouquet due to the dehydration it experiences.

Frozen wine also increases bottle pressure to an extreme amount which can potentially cause leakage or breakage. With factors such as these, it’s important to consider the right way to freeze wine and what can happen if you don’t follow the right steps.

bottles on ice

Another factor that needs to be considered is the type of wine itself. Cheaper table wines and day to day wines are more ideal for freezing as their flavors and aroma are less complex, and thus will be less adversely affected by the freezing process compared to other wines. It’s a well recommended tip to transfer the wine to freezer-safe containers, which leaves space for liquid expansion, as well as protects the container from any potential damage. 

Lastly, it’s important to take caution when freezing sparkling wine, as the expansion of sparkling wine can lead to an explosion.

At What Point Does Wine Freeze?

Wine usually freezes at a temperature of 20°F (-7°C) and below. 

The freezing point of wine depends on its alcohol by volume (ABV) content. Wines with a lower ABV tend to freeze more quickly, as well as at a lower temperature. The alcohol content and the presence of soluble solids such as sugar are known to have an effect on the freezing point of wine as well.

snow on the vineyards

In order to determine a wine’s freezing point, you should first calculate its alcohol content and consult a relevant chart. 

The process of freezing wine will cause the water molecules present to transition from liquid to solid, which results in a change of consistency of the wine 1-3 hours later.

What Happens When Wine Freezes?

When wine is exposed to freezing temperatures, it expands, and opens up to several potential risks, such as freezer burn. This can lead to a radical change in the flavor of the wine, along with a change in aroma and dehydration of the wine itself, further altering the taste, especially with leftover wine.

red wine in a glass

Oxidation may also occur additionally if the seal of the bottle is broken.

It’s important to note that the freezing point of the wine can be affected by non-alcoholic compounds and sulphites. When the wine freeze, the water molecules freeze first, leaving behind the alcohol molecules, and the increase in alcohol molecules in the unfrozen portion of the wine leads to a decrease in the freezing point of the wine, causing the wine to become a slushie instead of a solid. 

Is it Safe to Freeze Wine?

Freezing wine can be an overall risky endeavor, as it can result in the bottle leaking or breaking due to the expansion of the liquid inside.

winter fruits

If you choose to freeze wine, be sure to transfer it to freezer-safe containers, so that you can protect the container from chances of explosion and leave room for liquid expansion.

Is Frozen Wine Safe to Drink?

Frozen wine is safe to drink, however the taste might be adversely affected and it might be less enjoyable. Additionally, tartar crystals may form in the wine under extremely cold conditions, however they are safe to consume.

glasses with wine

When preparing to drink wine that has been previously frozen, you should either thaw it out by leaving it in the refrigerator or setting it out at room temperature. If you’re in a rush, you can put it in a bowl of lukewarm water, but you should refrain from the use of microwaves and hot water as it can damage the wine. 

When is it Appropriate to Freeze Wine?

Freezing wine is the best option when dealing with partially opened bottles of red wine. When freezing the beverage for culinary use it’s advisable to use freezer bags and ice cube trays. The frozen wine is better to be used as a culinary supplement rather than a beverage even if it has been slightly oxidized or freezer burned. 

However, not all wines should be frozen. Most wines can generally survive the freezing process but sparkling wines along with white wines which have a higher alcohol content are not recommended to store in the freezer. 

For these types of wines, the liquid expands at a higher volume and at a faster rate, which can cause the bottle to explode.

For people who choose to freeze their wine, it’s important to understand the temperature of the freezer itself and the temperature the wine typically freezes at.

How to Cool Your Wine Fast Without Freezing it?

If you need to chill your wine quickly without freezing it, you can put it in a bucket filled with ice and add salt, which further lowers the freezing temperature. Submerge the wine in the ice-filled bucket and rotate the bottle for a period of 5-10 minutes. Add an extra 3-4 minutes for sparkling wine.

If you want to minimize the chance of explosion when chilling wine, it’s typically advised to use a plastic bucket instead of a glass bucket, and to ensure that the bucket is not filled to the brim with ice, only submerging the wine inside for a short period of time. 

A faster way to chill wine is to place a bottle in an airtight seal and leave it in the refrigerator temporarily. This allows the wine to cool at a much faster rate than if it were to be left in the bottle with a screw cap or cork. 

If you want to preserve leftover wine without freezing it, it’s best to use an airtight seal or screw cap on the bottle and store it in the refrigerator. Make sure to be careful when dealing with white wines.

wine in a fridge

Frequently Asked Questions

For How long should you leave wine in the freezer?

If you want to cool a bottle of wine in the freezer you should keep it inside for about 30 minutes in order for it to be properly chilled. If you are trying to chill sparkling wine, keep it for 35 minutes.

How do you cool wine quickly?

To quickly cool your wine, submerge it in a bucket filled with ice water and salt for several minutes. Alternatively, freeze the bottle for an hour or more, pour the wine into glasses and refrigerate, add ice cubes to the glasses, or place frozen grapes into the glasses.
These methods will all help the wine reach its desired serving temperature faster.

Does Freezing Wine Make it Last Longer?

No, freezing wine does not extend shelf life, contrary to what people might think, it instead decreases the shelf life at a much faster rate in addition to diminishing the flavor and quality.

Stan Kushkin

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