Cooling Wine in your Freezer :
Temps for Serving / Storing Wine

You want your wine to chill down rapidly. So you stick it in the freezer. Will the bottle explode? Is this good for your wine?

First, the freezer. Most household freezers keep a temperature of around 5F. Water freezes at 32F, so this is quite adequate to keep all water in a frozen state. There's no need to make the freezer get even colder if it's unnecessary (and expensive).

Wine is mostly water, but the alcohol in it lowers the freezing point. So depending on how much or how little alcohol percentage is in the wine bottle, your freezing point of the wine is probably around 15F. So yes, this is less than 32F ... but it is also above the 5F your freezer is at.

So if you put that bottle of wine into your freezer, first the water will slowly begin to crystalize ... and expand. Basic science teaches us that water expands as it freezes.

That's fine in an ice cube tray, but your bottle of wine has a cork in it. There's nowhere for the air to go while this expansion is taking place. At some point the pressure within the bottle will build up until either the cork pops out, or the bottle cracks.

I also have to point out here that we take a LOT of effort normally to keep a wine at a standard temperature, to keep the light away from it, to keep vibrations to a minimum, all in the name of preserving the amazing flavors a wine contains. The grapes that went into the wine were tended with loving care - they were often carried to the wine presses in special carts meant to cushion them. The wine was nurtured through the winemaking process, with temperatures and balances watched constantly. To then take the final product and stick it into a freezer, making ice crystals form within the liquid, seems a really BAD idea to me :)

I'm not a wine purist. I put plastic ice cubes in my wine to cool it down, if it's a hot day out. Wine is supposed to be enjoyed and drunk at a proper temperature to get its best flavors. But there's a balance here. If I take a wine from my wine fridge, pour it into a nice glass and take it out on the back porch, I want to keep it cool. The plastic ice cubes help it keep cool and at its best flavor. If instead I tossed the bottle into the fridge and caused ice crystals to form in it, that is doing an entire chemical change on the wine - which is about the exact opposite as what I would hope to do.

Even looking beyond the ice crystals, most of wine care involves keeping the temperature even. You use a wine fridge to keep a wine resting at its proper temperature, without large variations. Swings in wine temperature are what destroy its flavor and turn it into vinegar. So with so many people struggling to keep their wine temperature *even*, to have someone deliberately want to *cause* a temperature swing of 40 degrees or more (no matter in what direction) is sort of illogical. This is the opposite of what you should be trying to do. It's like asking how long you should keep your wine next to a hot stove. The answer is - don't.

So my advice - keep the wine somewhere chill. If your wine is heating up, you're destroying the wine to begin with, never mind having to deal with how to cool it back down. Temperature swings are very harmful to wines. There should never be a reason to stick wine into a freezer, and you certainly don't want to leave a bottle in there for more than a few minutes!

Proper Wine Serving Temperatures
Wine in a Snowstorm
Using Ice Cubes to Chill a Wine

Wine Basics Main Page

All content on the WineIntro website is personally written by author and wine enthusiast Lisa Shea. WineIntro explores the delicious variety and beautiful history which makes up our world of wine! Lisa loves supporting local wineries and encouraging people to drink whatever they like. We all have different taste buds, and that makes our world wonderful. Always drink responsibly.