Does Wine Freeze?

Bridget Reed @ 2022-01-13 06:40:14 -0800

Does Wine Freeze?

 

There are many reasons to freeze wine, but there are only a few good reasons to do it. Technically, your wine will freeze if you put it in the freezer. The result will be more slushy than solid, and it may not achieve your goal. 


One reason to freeze wine is to make wine ice cubes for cooking. This works, but keep in mind that your wine will still oxidize in the freezer—just a little more slowly. Fresh wine is best for cooking as it will impart the freshest flavors. However, if you’re in a pinch, this isn’t a bad hack. 


You can also use wine ice cubes in your Sangria or spritzers. This is probably the best reason to freeze wine as it adds a cute touch to your cocktail without watering it down. 


Other reasons for sticking your wine in the freezer include chilling it quickly or saving an opened bottle. As we’ll see, there are a few risks to this and a few things you need to know before trying it out. If you’re going to freeze your wine, make sure you’re doing it right.

Does wine freeze if you put it in the freezer?

Yes, wine does freeze. But alcohol needs lower temperatures than water does to freeze (32°F), and most freezers don’t drop to temperatures needed to freeze liquor. They can freeze wine—after about five hours. 


Depending on the alcohol content, your bottle of wine will freeze between 15°F and 20°F. The more alcohol in the bottle, the lower the temperature needs to be.


The Dos and Dont’s of Freezing Wine

When you freeze your wine, you’re most likely going to get a slushy wine rather than a solid cube. 


This isn’t a bad option if you’re going for a frosé feel, but after a while, your wine will eventually freeze solid. That’s when you want to make sure you’ve got the do’s and dont’s down. 


Don’t put it in there with a sealed cap or cork.

While you’re waiting on the alcohol content in your wine to reach freezing temperatures, the water in your wine will have already frozen and started expanding. All this pressure needs somewhere to go, so your wine will leak through the cap into your freezer. This can get really messy. 


The pressure can also push the cork out of the bottle entirely, an impressive trick but a real pain to clean up. Especially if that cork is locked with a wire cage, the bottle will shatter with enough pressure. This isn’t just a headache—it’s dangerous because it sends glass flying all over your freezer and the food stored in it. 


Do leave room for the wine to expand as it freezes.

You can put a half-opened bottle in your freezer, but glass is dangerous. The safest option is to transfer the wine to ice cube trays or a freezer-safe bag. Just be sure to leave some room for the wine to expand. 


Don’t put sparkling wine in the freezer.

Sparkling wine in the freezer is actually quite dangerous. The bottle already contains anywhere from 1 to 6 atmospheres of pressure. This pressure is what causes the wine to remain carbonated, and it’s why the bottle has to be opened by aiming the cork away from everyone. 


As your sparkling wine expands in the freezer, it’s more likely to explode. 


Do put less expensive wine in the freezer. 

Freezing your wine is going to lower its quality. When you expose wine to significant temperature changes, you run the risk of zapping the subtle nuances, especially with finer wines. The flavor profile you have when it’s fresh may become muted when it’s frozen.


Be sure to only freeze the stuff that wouldn’t cause any heartbreak if they lost their flavor profile. Table wines and everyday wines are great options. 


Don’t forget you put your wine in there.

The biggest reason wine gets put in the freezer isn’t to freeze it solid but to put a quick chill on it. If you forget about it and the wine stays in there for a day or more, it’s going to start leaking and will eventually explode. 


To avoid forgetting about your wine, set a timer for half an hour. This will give the wine enough time to cool down without freezing—or bursting. 


Do a quick chill with ice and salt to avoid exploding bottles. 

Did you know that you can chill your bottle of wine in 5 to 10 minutes without putting it in the freezer? All you have to do is give it a little ice and salt bath. 


Here’s how to do it:


Fill an ice bucket (or any bucket you have laying around) with ice, water, and two or three cups of salt. Submerge your bottle of wine in the ice bucket and spin it until it’s cooled down for about 5 to 10 minutes. 


Salt lowers the freezing point of water. This means that when you add salt, the water is able to drop to temperatures below 32F without turning to ice. The water is colder which chills the wine quickly. 


Spinning the bottle isn’t necessary, but it does speed the process up. This keeps the water moving, distributing cold water to the center and moving water away that has been warmed by the room temperature bottle. 


Is frozen wine safe to drink?

Once your frozen wine returns to a liquid state, it is safe to drink. But by this point, several things have happened that may make the experience a little less enjoyable. 


First, the wine may experience what is called “bottle shock.” Bottle shock happens when a bottle is exposed to extreme environmental changes like temperature swings or prolonged vibration during transport. The wine shuts down and loses all of its flavors. 


Next, when you expose your bottle to freezing temperatures, you may notice little crystals forming in the wine. These are called tartaric crystals and they’re a natural reaction to cold temperatures. They’re perfectly safe to consume. Some winemakers cold stabilize their wine before bottling so that this doesn’t happen. Others prefer not to mess with the wine too much so they don’t put it through this optional process. 


Tartaric crystals are nothing to worry about and you can just let them settle at the bottom of the bottle and pour carefully. 


Does wine last longer in the freezer?

Wine isn’t like food. While it will last in the freezer and remain safe to drink, contact with air will still cause it to oxidize over time. This will cause your wine to lose its fruit flavors and eventually begin to smell like vinegar. The best way to keep your wine fresh is to get a vacuum sealer that removes oxygen from the bottle. Even then, the best way to enjoy your wine is to finish it within a few days of opening. 


Wine isn’t made to be frozen.

Winemakers don’t intend for their wine to be stored frozen. In fact, each kind of wine has a different recommended storing temperature to ensure freshness. Typically, lighter whites are stored at colder temperatures than bigger whites and reds. If you really want a colder wine drink, try wines that are made to be chilled like a white wine spritzer.


Here are the recommended storing temperatures for wine:

-Sweet wines like Sauternes or Tokaji Aszu are chilled at 43 to 46°F.
-Sparkling wines like Champagne or Prosecco are chilled at 43 to 50°F.
-Light whites and rosé are chilled at 45 to 50°F.
-Full-bodied whites like Chardonnay are lightly chilled at 45 to 50°F.
-Light reds like Pinot Noir can be lightly chilled between 55 to 64°F or stored at room temperature.
-Full-bodied reds like Cabernet Sauvignon should be stored at room temperature or 59 to 64°F.

    Be safe when freezing your wine.

    You can freeze your wine, but you run a few risks when doing it. Plus, while frozen wine is safe to drink, it may not taste as good. 


    Stick to table wines for freezing and store your finer stuff at the recommended temperatures, away from direct sunlight and heat. These wines are little pieces of art, and you don’t want to disturb them.


    If you're craving a wine that’s perfect with a nice chill on it, you’ve got to try Rebujito, a white wine spritz with lemon and a hint of mint. It’s made with all-natural ingredients and tastes best when cooled. 

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