We’ve all been there.
It’s Friday night. You and your significant other are making dinner at home after a long week of work but neither of you thought to put a bottle of wine in the fridge – and a chilled bottle of wine would really go well with the meal you’re making!
In this article, we’re going to explore 3 ways to chill wine – and #3 might surprise you!
Option #1: Put Your Wine in the Freezer
If you’re like most people, your first instinct is to put your wine in the freezer – but is this a good idea?
Can you put wine in the freezer?
It’s OK to put wine in the freezer. Just don’t forget to take it out. In my experience, 30 minutes in the freezer will chill the wine sufficiently for your first glass then put the bottle in the fridge if you’d like to cool it down even more.
If you’re forgetful, you should probably set a timer on your smartphone. Better safe than sorry!
What Happens If You Put Wine in the Freezer?
Let’s talk about the worst-case scenario. You put a bottle of wine in your freezer with every intention of retrieving it in half an hour or so, but it somehow slips your mind.
What happens to wine if you leave it in the freezer overnight? Can you still drink it?
Let’s examine this scenario in more detail.
Wine is mostly water, but it has alcohol in it which has the effect of lowering its freezing point. While wine will freeze at 15 – 20°F, it needs to remain at those temperatures for quite a while to freeze solid. As the water in wine begins to freeze, it expands putting pressure on the cork.
If the cork is pushed out, you’ll wake up to a slushy mess in your freezer.
But, if the stars align in your favor and none of the wine leaks out, you should immediately move the bottle to your refrigerator and let it gradually thaw. While it is safe to drink wine that has been frozen, it may be better suited for cooking than drinking.
How to Freeze Wine for Cooking
Leftover wine can be frozen and used for cooking. It’s a convenient way to add depth and flavor to your favorite recipes.
Red and white wine can be frozen in ice cube trays. Once the wine is completely frozen, transfer it to a freezer bag and label it, including the date it was frozen. That way you’ll know what’s in the bag and how long you should keep it.
Wine stored in your freezer this way should be fine for up to 3 months.
Option #2: Put Your Wine in the Fridge
Let me start by saying that your refrigerator is a much safer option for chilling wine than your freezer, but it’ll take longer for your wine to reach its ideal temperature.
On average, it’ll take between 2 – 3 hours to chill your wine to the recommended serving temperature in the fridge. However, if you forget your wine and leave it in the refrigerator overnight, you aren’t going to wake up to a slushy mess!
Plan ahead, put your wine in the fridge well in advance of when you’ll need it, and you’re all set. Or, buy a wine fridge so you’re able to keep a few bottles at service temperature any time you need them!
If you prefer sparkling wine, check out our recommendations for the 5 best wine fridges for champagne.
Option #3: Put Your Wine in an Ice Bucket
Sometimes the traditional method is best.
Place your wine bottle in an ice bucket. Cover the bottle with a generous amount of ice, then add water. A bottle immersed in ice alone will take a long time to chill. Adding water causes the wine to cool down faster because the entire surface of the wine bottle is in contact with the cold liquid.
The ice bucket will add to the classy ambiance as your chill your bottle of wine and your wine will be ready to serve quickly. Red wine should be sufficiently chilled after 10 minutes, white and rosé wine will be ready in 20 minutes.
Wine Chilling Options Compared
While everyone has different preferences and opinions about the best serving temperature for wine, let’s assume you want to chill your red wine to 55°F (12°C) and your white wine to 45°F (7°C).
Here’s how long it takes, using each of the methods outlined above.
|Fridge||2.5 hours||3 hours|
|Freezer||40 minutes||1 hour|
|Ice-Water Bath||10 minutes||20 minutes|
What is the Best Way to Chill Wine?
Which option should you use if you want to chill a bottle of wine?
Assuming you plan ahead, the refrigerator is your best bet. If you forget a bottle of wine in the fridge, the bottle isn’t going to break, and you won’t end up with a slushy mess to clean up.
If you don’t have enough time to chill a bottle of wine in the fridge, you can always stick it in the freezer. To answer the question posed at the beginning of this article, you can put wine in your freezer. Just don’t forget to take it out!
If you want to chill a bottle of wine in the shortest amount of time possible, put some good music on, maybe light a candle or two… and break out your ice bucket!