Can Wine Freeze? [Is Frozen Wine Drinkable?]
To be honest, I don’t see the harm in putting a bottle in the freezer for a quick chill.
As long as we’re talking about leaving the wine in the freezer for less than an hour.
But, what if you forget it there and fall asleep? Can wine freeze? Can frozen wine still be good?
We've got the answers below.
Can Wine Freeze?
Long story short, yes, it can.
Wine freezes at a temperature of around 15°F.
The temperature in an average freezer is typically lower than this which means you can easily freeze wine in your freezer.
Now that you know wine freezes, the next question to ask is what happens to frozen wine? Can you still consume it? Or does it go bad?
To put it simply, you’ll be able to thaw and drink a frozen wine. It won’t cause you any harm. But this doesn’t mean the wine will preserve its quality or flavors.
Can Frozen Wine Still Be Good?
As I mentioned above, you can simply thaw frozen wine and consume it without worries. However, the low temperatures will alter the quality of your wine.
The main effect of ice on wine is the formation of tartar (tartrate crystals). These are solid crystals formed through the precipitation of the natural acids in wine. These crystals won’t dissolve when you thaw the beverage but will deposit on the bottom of the bottle.
This is often a minor issue in the case of still white wines. In fact, you might not even notice their presence. The flavor of the wine is also almost imperceptibly altered, so you’ll be able to enjoy thawed wine just as you would enjoy any other white wine.
However, the tartar deposits will perceptibly alter the quality of the red wine. If you’re a lover of red, you will perhaps notice the crystals on the bottom of the bottle and sense the change in the wine’s flavor.
Tartar crystals also have a negative impact on the quality of the sparkling wine, but that’s not the only thing to concern you. These crystals release carbon dioxide. Added to the carbon dioxide already present in the beverage, they will increase the pressure in the bottle.
In the worst case scenario, the bottle could shatter when you thaw the wine.
In the best case scenario, the geyser effect could result in you having an unwanted sparkling wine shower when you open the bottle.
What Else Can Happen?
Besides tartar precipitation, what else could happen to your wine?
Well, nothing much as far as the composition of the wine is concerned. But something could happen to the bottle.
If you skipped high school physics classes, you should know water expands in its solid state (aka when it freezes).
When its volume exceeds the volume of the bottle, it causes the glass to shatter. It’s just that simple, and this would definitely make your wine undrinkable.
So, the best thing to do is to make sure you don’t forget your wine in the freezer - or just don’t put it there in the first place.
I Forgot The Wine In The Freezer - Now What?
Putting a bottle of wine in the freezer and forgetting about it can happen. After all, we’re only humans. Besides crystals precipitation and a shattered bottle, there isn’t too much that can happen.
If you want to avoid the latter, the best thing to do is to take the bottle out of the freezer as soon as you remember about it. Let the wine thaw, uncap the bottle and see if it’s still worth a drink.
However, you can also freeze wine on purpose and for more than one reason.
What To Do With Frozen Wine?
As an avid wine drinker, I hate wasting a single drop of this special beverage. However, it can often happen to have leftover wine after dinner.
You can preserve it in the fridge for a day or two, but if you’re not going to consume it in this time, your wine could just go bad.
To avoid this, I tend to use leftover wine to make wine ice cubes. There are dozens of recipes to follow, and you can then use them to chill your wine in the glass or to make delicious cocktails during the summer.
More often than not, you can aromatize the wine cubes with berries and other wild fruits, herbs, and even spices.
Use an ice cube tray for the purpose, place fruits or herbs in each cube, pour over your favorite wine, and freeze it.
Crush the wine cubes to make cocktails for your pool party or to add a refreshing flavor to your usual glass of wine in any season.
These cubes are also a better idea for a more flavorful sangria than the traditional ice cubes made of water.
Other Methods To Chill Wine
Okay, so now you know what can happen if wine freezes. And even if common sense suggests to avoid placing a bottle of wine in the freezer for just a quick chill, we both know you’ll do it sooner or later.
But you must also know there are other ways to chill wine. The fastest and easiest is with ice.
Fill a wine bucket with ice, place your bottle inside, and leave it there for at least half an hour. There are also appliances build specifically to chill your bottle fast.
Alternatively, buy several bottles of wine and store them in a wine cooler. This is perhaps the easiest way to ensure your wine is always at serving temperature.
Moreover, you won’t have to worry about returning to a home that lacks your favorite beverage.
What If You’re Not Chilling Wine In The Freezer?
Up until now, we’ve only talked about wine frozen in the freezer. But that’s not your only concern. Wine can freeze in other places too.
For instance, in the trunk of your car, if you live in a cold climate area and forget your wine in the car for hours.
Another concern should be long-term storage, especially if you make wine at home.
Most amateur winemakers store their wine in the basement, but if the area is not insulated properly, the temperatures could drop below the freezing point during winter.
Now, if the effects above are tolerable when it’s just a bottle involved, getting an entire batch of wine ruined by frost is not so appealing.
To avoid unpleasant surprises, make sure you check the temperatures in the basement throughout the winter. Invest in a good space heater if it’s too cold, or if this solution is too costly, insulate the area with thermal foil.
You could also consider building a wine rack in a room inside your home and moving the bottles there for the winter. Alternatively, consider professional storage. The costs are moderate, and that’s a sure way to know your wine is preserved in optimal conditions.
Wine can definitely freeze, and there is nothing you can do about it, except keeping the wine in proper conditions. You’ll usually be able to drink thawed wine, although the taste will probably disappoint you.
My advice, unless you’re making wine cubes, it to avoid chilling your wine in the freezer.
There are other chilling options highlighted in this guide which represent a better solution in the short and long run! And you’ll get to fully enjoy your wine!