Does wine freeze? It is one of the most common questions people ask about leftover wine. After all, you might not be able to finish every bottle of wine you open.
In general, wine does freeze because of its water content. Wine snobs might not like it, but some people even make wine cubes and wine slushies! Let’s take a closer look at the impact of cold temperature on your wine.
Basics of Wine Freezing: The Quick Cool-Down
Are you planning to serve a bottle of wine in the next hour during the summer? In that case, consider putting the bottle in the freezer for a quick cool-down. Putting a bottle of wine in a freezer for 5-10 minutes is all you need if you are an average wine drinker. Alternatively, you can buy an ice bucket with water to keep it cool for longer.
Before putting the bottle in the freezer, make sure you set a timer on your phone or watch! If the bottle stays in the freezer too long, you might end up ruining a nice bottle.
In general, a quick cool down for white wines makes sense for a few minutes. However, any expert wine drinker knows that red wines do not need to be as cold. For example, the recommended serving temperature for Merlot is 60-65 Fahrenheit (15-18 degrees Celsius), which is only slightly cooler than room temperature. If you are drinking wine outside in the summer, a bucket with water and ice can keep your red wine cooler for a more extended period. In the cold weather of winter, freezing wine is less critical.
Basics of Wine Freezing: Managing Leftover Wine
In a previous blog for wine lovers, I covered the question, “does wine go bad?” The short answer is yes! However, you can keep the bottle of wine in good condition by putting it in the fridge for a few days. In a fridge, the chance is a bottle of wine exploding is near to zero.
Putting a bottle of wine in your freezer is a different story. Your bottle of wine might explode! In particular, avoid putting sparkling wine or champagne in the freezer. The increased pressure from carbon dioxide in sparkling wine means you could end up with glass shards in your freezer.
Aside from keeping your bottle of bubbly out of the freezer, other wines can be put in the freezer. Most wines will start to freeze solid in about 4-6 hours in a standard freezer. If the bottle is half empty, the wine in the frozen bottle will have some room to expand. A nearly full bottle of wine has a higher chance of breaking into glass chards when frozen, so use your judgment.
Basics of Wine Freezing: Wine For Cooking
Some recipes call for ingredients like red wine sauce. Some people choose inexpensive wines for cooking, but I respectfully disagree with that point of view. To become an expert wine drinker, it is best to choose the best affordable wines you can afford, whether you are using them for cooking or not. You have a few options when you finish cooking and a partially empty wine bottle.
A bottle of wine can keep for a few days in your fridge. Remember, a bottle of wine contains five servings of wine. If your splash of wine in cooking is equivalent to a five-ounce serving, you have four wine glasses left in the bottle. You could have two glasses today and then two glasses of wine tomorrow. By finishing the wine in 1-2 days, you can observe healthy daily wine content limits and avoid your wine going bad.
Other Common Questions About Freezing Wine
Will wine freeze if left in the car?
It depends on where you live, the cold temperature you expect, and the impact of adverse weather conditions. I’m in Canada, so I would not put a bottle of wine in the car overnight in the winter. It is not a great idea to leave wine in the car in summer, especially a delicate drink! Extreme cold and extreme heat can both damage a nice bottle. As mentioned above, avoid putting a bottle of bubbly wine in your car overnight! It might break and give your car a champagne shower! Extreme temperatures, hot or cold, are bad for wine. That’s why you want to keep your nice bottle in a proper storage place like a wine fridge or some other quiet, cool place in your home.
How quickly does wine freeze in the freezer?
The short answer is approximately five hours.
Let’s assume that you have a standard kitchen freezer with a cold temperature of 0 Fahrenheit or 18 degrees Celsius. On average, it takes about five hours for wine to freeze solid in a freezer. However, a bottle of wine with a lower alcohol percentage (e.g., a 9-10% alcohol by volume) will freeze faster, while higher alcohol wines will make freeze in a more extended period.
Once again, avoid putting sparkling wine in your freezer for more than a few minutes. Champagne and other sparkling wine are under significant pressure. The bottle of wine might explode if left unattended. If you are a dedicated wine drinker who wants to appreciate your wine, I suggest setting a timer to avoid disappointment. Use the timer app on your smartphone or a website like E.ggTimer.
Why does wine freeze, but vodka doesn’t?
Vodka has a higher alcohol percentage than wine. As a result, colder temperatures are required to freeze it solid.
In general, a bottle of wine will have a maximum of 15% alcohol content, while vodka and spirits have a far higher quantity of actual alcohol. Generally speaking, vodka will not freeze solid unless frozen to minus 16.6 Fahrenheit (i.e., -27 degrees Celsius). A standard kitchen freezer has a temperature of 0 Fahrenheit (minus 18 degrees Celsius). Put another way; a standard kitchen freezer is not cold enough to freeze vodka solid.
Why is there a difference between the freezing point in wine vs. vodka? The answer lies in alcohol percentage. The freezing point of 40% alcohol is minus 16 Fahrenheit (i.e., -27 degrees Celsius), while the freezing point of water is different: 32 degrees Fahrenheit or 0 degrees Celsius.
Can I freeze red wine?
Yes, you can freeze red wine. If you want to have a frozen bottle of red wine, you may need to be patient. Why? Generally speaking, red wines have a higher alcohol content than white wines. As a result, it takes more exposure to cold temperature to fully freeze a bottle. The rule of thumb is simple: higher average alcohol content means a longer time to freeze. On the other hand, if you want to chill wine to the proper serving temperature, five to ten minutes in the freezer or using an ice bucket is a good bet.
You might also be wondering, “should you freeze red wine?” If you are buying inexpensive wines, you could try freezing unfinished wine. Once you switch to high-quality wines, I would recommend switching to a wine fridge instead. It will keep your nice bottle of wine in better condition.
What Every Expert Wine Drinker Avoids Extreme Temperatures
When you pick up a nice bottle of wine, especially one of Wine Spectator’s recommendations, you do not want to ruin that glass! Unfortunately, freezing wine can ruin a good bottle. When wine is too cold, most of the flavors are suppressed. The result is disappointing – you taste nothing beyond the “actual alcohol” in the glass. For more guidance on this subject, learn how to hold a wine glass.
Want To Become An Expert Wine Drinker In An Hour?
There is a lot to learn about the world of wine. If you want to become a resident wine expert in your home, I recommend an excellent Skillshare course by expert wine drinker Gary Vaynerchuk. He shows you how to shop for wine and guides you through three different wine tastings. Not sure if the course is right for you? Read my full review of the Skillshare wine course: “Getting Started with Wine: Buy Smarter, Taste More” Skillshare Course Review.
You might not be in the mood for a wine course if you’ve been spending all day on your computer. In that case, I recommend picking up a book of wine fiction to enjoy with your next glass.