Can Wine Freeze? Why You Should Avoid This Chilling Method

Published July 5, 2022
Waitress reaching for champagne in the fridge

Can wine freeze? It can, but the question is, do you want it to? Freezing wine can be a bit of a dangerous game, and it's not really recommended. While you technically can put wine in the freezer, there are better ways to get to the end goal of that cold glass of albariño.

Can Wine Freeze?

Yes. Well, a bottle of wine won't ever freeze completely solid due to the alcohol content, but it will come quite close. If left for a long period, at around 15-20°F (-9 to -6°C), the water content will freeze solid and start to expand.

Ever throw a bottle of wine in the freezer to chill and forget about it? If your answer is yes, then you've possibly found a slushy mess all over your freezer the next day. This is less than ideal and can even be dangerous, leaving shards of glass strewn about. If your forgotten bottle doesn't actually burst, its shelf life from here on out may be compromised. The wine will have expanded, likely expelling the cork slightly or breaking the airtight seal of a metal screw top, causing oxidation over time. So while wine can go in the freezer, it's best to set a timer for 20-30 minutes so as not to let it get to this stage.

Salvaging Frozen Wine

If you have taken it this far, it's still salvageable once it warms up to your desired drinking temp. While it isn't exactly bad, the quality may be a little compromised. Dramatic swings in temperature, hot or cold, are never good for wine. The delicate aromas and flavors can change with a big cold snap, like forgetting it in the freezer. So if you've got a really special bottle, skip the freezer and stick to the fridge or an ice bucket.

Alternatively, you can let the wine thaw and then re-freeze it in an ice cube tray to use in cooking. The little cubes allow you to pull out just what you need for that bolognese sauce. This is a great storage method for any bottle of cooking wine that you open for a dish and have leftovers. Once frozen, you can transfer the wine cubes to a plastic bag to save space. Label, date, and voilà. It will last for 3 to 6 months in the freezer.

Other Ways to Chill Wine

The best alternative to putting your wine in the freezer is a quick ice bucket bath. A 2:1 ratio of ice to water will have your bottle cold in no time without the adverse side effects that can come from a bottle left in the freezer, out of sight, out of mind. If you're going for that summer frosé in a bag type of vibe, by all means - freeze away. It's better to pour the wine into a container that can expand safely as the wine gets cooler and takes to a slushy phase.

In another vein, remember your grandma dropping ice cubes into her glass of pinot grigio on the patio? While you can pour your wine over ice, it will dilute it quite quickly, and it's really not recommended unless you are going for a PBR kind of watered down wine, in which case you really should just be reaching for piquette. So stick to a longer fridge time or the ice bucket for best results.

Wine bottles in ice bucket

Avoid Freezing Wine

Yes, you can freeze wine, but you're not doing yourself any favors when it comes to the preserving the quality. It's really better to chill your wine in the refrigerator, wine fridge, or ice bucket to achieve that chilled temp you're looking for.

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Can Wine Freeze? Why You Should Avoid This Chilling Method