Can wine freeze? There are times when you have forgotten about a bottle you simply slid into the freezer to cool or want to transform leftover rosé into frosé. Then, there comes a time when you wonder if the wine freezes at all.
The simple answer is yes. If kept below a specific temperature for enough time, the wine freezes.
“Wine, like all liquids, will change phases from liquid to solid when subjected to low enough temperatures,” says Byron Elmendorf, head winemaker at Macari Vineyards. “Although wine contains a dazzling array of organic compounds, it is the water and alcohol that mostly determine the freezing point of wine.” The trick, however, is to avoid freezing a precious bottle accidentally. If you intend to freeze your wine, you need to create the right conditions to safely do so.
Can you freeze wine? Unlike freezing the food, wine is not preserved well when frozen and can turn bad if left for too long in the freezer. Most experts believe that allowing wine to freeze in an open container can speed up the oxidation process and can leave it vulnerable to freezer burn.
Usually, wine freezes between 15–25°F, according to its alcohol by volume (abv) and other factors. This is much lower as compared to that of the freezing point of water (32°F) and higher than the temperature required for liquors like vodka to become solid below 16.6°F.
As most might know, alcohol has a lower freezing point as compared to that of water. Hence, the boozier your bottle is, the colder it will require to freeze.
Most wines fall between 11–13% abv. Red wines usually contain more alcohol as compared to white, rosé, and sparkling bottles. Likewise, Sugar content can also affect the freezing point of the wine.
“Dissolved sugar will lower the freezing point of a liquid, so sweet and dessert wines will also tend to freeze at much lower temperatures,” says Elmendorf.
Wine will freeze generally in five hours if your freezer is set at or below 0°F, as is recommended by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The consistency will also start to be compromised within 1–3 hours as the water molecules within the wine soon begin to solidify.
What Happens When Wine Freezes?
Can you freeze wine in a glass bottle? To know more about that, you need to know more about the effects of freezing on wine.
While wine freezes, it is not generally a common phenomenon and can generally be avoided by properly storing the wine in a cool, dark place and by monitoring the temperature.
In most cases, freezing the unopened wine will not change the flavour profile of the wine much. The major threat to the taste of wine is the process of oxidation that comes from being exposed to air. Hence, if you freeze a sealed bottle of wine and it does not break or the cork does not pop out of the bottle, then you will not notice a major difference in the flavor once it has thawed and poured.
It is not recommended to freeze wine for the sake of drinking it later, as that is not the way the winemaker wants it to be consumed. However, there are certain cases where frozen wine might be beneficial, like in cooking. Secondly, if the cork has been pushed out in the freezer, the air will enter the bottle and oxidize your wine. With time, the steady oxidation will cause the wine to turn into vinegar. This is not so refreshing on a warm summer’s day. Also, Screw top wines are not safe from this. Oxidation can also take place if the liquid breaks the airtight seal.
Finally, when freezing white, dessert, or red wine should leave you quite unscathed, freezing sparkling wine is considered dangerous. A frozen bottle of sparkling wine can also become explosive.
If you have accidentally frozen a bottle of bubbly, you do not need to panic. Just be sure not to whip it open, either, as you are dealing with a wine hand grenade. Instead, be sure to remove it from the freezer while aiming the head of the bottle away from your face. Take it over to a safe place away from people, like the backyard or patio. Allow it to warm up and walk away.
Tips for Preventing Wine from Freezing
Does wine freeze if you put it in the freezer? Let us check out ways to prevent the wine from freezing at all if you do not want it to:
The Wine coolers are a wonderful way to store the wine, not only taking into account the temperature but also UV light, humidity, and, at times, even the vibrations!
The wine collection requires a little humidity for the corks to remain in place. Too little of the humidity can cause the cork to dry out, shrink, and slip out of place, thus exposing your wine to oxygen.
Monitor The Ambient Temperature
In case the temperature gets too low around your wine cooler, then the wine cooler requires a heating system to make sure that the internal temperature does not stop and your wine collection does not get too cold.
Choose A Wine Cooler With A Winter System
Most wine coolers comprise a winter system or a garage system that works by insulating the wine cooler and protecting your wine from temperature fluctuations. This implies that you can place your wine cooler outside or in poorly insulated areas without worrying too much about the internal temperature dropping and your wine collection eventually freezing.
Place It Carefully
Be sure not to place your wine cooler around appliances that generate heat, such as your washing machine, tumble drier, or dishwasher. You also need to avoid placing wine coolers next to radiators as this can cause your wine cooler to overwork in order to cool your wine collection and increase the cost of your electric bill.
Storing Wine in Cold Climates
There are quite a few aspects to consider when you need to store wine in cold climates. One of the best methods is to go for a Temperature Monitoring System.
In case you are worried that the wine cellar can get too cold in the winter, then why not buy a temperature monitoring system?
These systems can easily be found that will sound an audible alarm once the temperature drops below a certain figure. This also works by sending a text or notification to your phone if the temperature drops below 5°C.
This is quite useful if you are storing wine for a long term and you do not visit your wine cellar often. There are times when some people tend to visit their wine cellars at the end of January, only to discover that their entire wine collection has frozen.
So, you see, getting an alarm that alerts you if the cellar temperature gets too cold will assist you in rectifying the problem. In case the temperature tends to get too cold, you simply have to turn the heating up by a couple of degrees to counteract the cold.
Does wine freeze?: Conclusion
The Wine experts might recommend that the user discard a bottle of wine that has been accidentally frozen. This is because the process of freezing alters the flavor profile and texture of the wine as well.
However, if you tried chilling wine quickly in the freezer but later forgot about it, all is not lost. In case the wine was not exposed to air for too long or left in the freezer for weeks and months, it is still consumable. It most likely will not be the same as a fresh bottle of wine. However, if it smells fine, you can still drink frozen wine or also use it for cooking. What has been your experience with a frozen bottle of wine? Do let us know, and we would love to hear from you.
Does wine freeze?: FAQ's
Question 1. Does wine last longer in the freezer?
Answer: Yes, but it is not recommended.
Question 2. Is frozen wine safe to drink?
Answer: Yes, it is safe to drink.
Question 3. Does freezing wine ruin it?
Answer: No, but it changes the flavor.
Question 4. Can you drink wine that has been frozen?
Answer: Yes, you can.
Question 5. How does freezing impact the quality of wine?
Answer: Freezing does not impact the quality, but it alters the flavor.
Question 6. Can freezing wine alter its alcohol content?
Answer: Yes, it could change in some cases.
Question 7. Is it possible to prevent wine from freezing?
Answer: Yes, if you follow some of the above-mentioned steps.
Question 8. What are the best practices for thawing frozen wine?
Answer: This can be done by simply placing the wine at room temperature.