There aren’t a ton of reasons to freeze your wine, but there are enough that you should know how to do it.
Of course, knowing how wine freezes, and what temperature it freezes at, can also help you avoid accidentally freezing your wine!
Don’t worry, I’ll cover everything you need to know, from the main reasons people freeze their wine, to the reasons you might not want to freeze a prized vintage.
In this guide you’ll learn:
- The average temperature wine freezes at
- How long it takes for wine to freeze
- Why you should or shouldn’t freeze wine
- And Much More…!
What's in this Guide?
What Temperature Does Wine Freeze?
The exact temperature that wine freezes varies for a few reasons, mostly the alcohol content and the kind of wine. However, most people consider the freezing point of wine to be about 22 degrees Fahrenheit. That’s because almost all wine will freeze at that temperature, but any warmer and only some wines will freeze entirely.
It’s alright if your wine doesn’t freeze completely though. Most frozen wine drinks actually rely on a soft freeze that will melt to slushie texture when you’re preparing your drink.
Read More: >> Best Blenders for Crushing Ice & Frozen Drinks
Never had frozen wine? This video will show you how to make 4 different kinds of frozen sangria for your next party!
Why does wine freeze at a lower temperature than water?
Well, there are a few reasons, but the main one is that alcohol doesn’t freeze at the same temperature as water. Most wine is about 12% alcohol, which is enough to lower the freezing temperature significantly.
Wine also contains sulfates, minerals, and other compounds that work to help lower the freezing temperature slightly.
Even though 22 degrees Fahrenheit is the freezing temperature of most wine, you can’t expect your wine to freeze solid at that temperature. At least, it won’t freeze solid quickly at 22 degrees.
Instead, the water molecules inside the wine will freeze first, along with a small amount of alcohol and other compounds. As the water freezes, the alcohol will concentrate in the remaining liquid. Since alcohol has an even lower freezing temperature than wine, the alcohol won’t freeze completely.
At 22 degrees your wine will probably turn into a kind of slush rather than freezing solid. You’ll need colder temperatures, like the inside of a freezer (most freezers go down to about 0 degrees Fahrenheit) to freeze wine solid. Even in a freezer it will take a few hours for your wine to get completely frozen.
That said, you don’t necessarily want to freeze your wine… here’s why.
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Does Freezing Hurt Wine?
Freezing a fine vintage of wine is probably a bit of a waste. Sure, you can always thaw the wine and drink it later, but the taste of the wine won’t be as fine as it was before freezing.
Why is that?
There are a couple of reasons freezing isn’t a good thing for most wines. For one thing, freezing tends to dampen some of the complex flavors of the wine. If you try to drink it too cold your taste buds won’t pickup on all the flavors still in the wine because cold tends to dampen taste sensitivity.
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There’s another problem though, wine can suffer from freezer burn just like anything else. That’s because freezer burn is essentially the process of food and even liquids dehydrating while they are frozen. The water leeches out of other substances and forms ice crystals on the outside.
When that happens to wine you lose a lot of flavor as well, even though the alcohol and other compounds in the wine are actually concentrating. Some of that is because the process is similar to oxidation, while some of the flavor loss is because your taste buds can’t fully process the remaining mixture.
Freezing your wine for a short period likely won’t cause any problems though, and there are some kinds of wine that freeze better than others. For instance, a mulled wine (wine that’s been infused with spices and warmed slightly) will freeze fine. The taste will alter slightly while the wine is frozen, but the flavors of the spices and any added fruit flavors won’t be as affected as normal wine.
Freezing wine can also be a fun way to make certain frozen drinks, or to enjoy your favorite wine during the summer. So, while most wine connoisseurs won’t be freezing their bottles any time soon, it’s okay if you want to give it a try.
Of course, if you’re looking for a slightly different flavor, you might want to give ice wine a try. Made with grapes that were frozen on the vine, the flavor is unique.
How to Safely Freeze Wine?
Of course, if you want to freeze your wine you’ll need to take a couple of steps to make sure you’re doing it as safely as possible. Try to freeze your wine in its bottle and you’ll probably have one of two outcomes: the cork will get pushed out by the expanding wine as it freezes or the bottle will crack as the wine freezes.
Either way it will be harder to enjoy your wine in the end. If the cork pops out you’ll lose some of the wine to spilling. The remaining frozen wine will also oxidize once it’s exposed to the air, which will change its flavor. Left too long frozen and uncorked and your wine will probably turn into a sour vinegar.
A broken bottle can be even worse depending on the kind of break.
A small crack might be salvageable if you can get the rest of the wine out without spilling. However, if your wine bottle bursts you’re better off throwing it away than trying to salvage any of the wine. That’s because small particles of glass can get caught in the wine.
The last thing you want to do is find a small sliver of glass in your wine while you’re drinking it!
So, it’s best to take your wine out of it’s bottle before freezing if you decide to freeze it. There are a couple of options here, depending on how you want to serve the wine later. For instance, you might want to freeze wine-cubes to serve with the same vintage later to help keep the wine at ideal drinking temperature.
In that case you can use a regular ice tray to freeze your wine. Just make sure you wrap the tray in cling wrap or cover it with a bag to prevent the wine from oxidizing while it freezes.
If you’re making wine-cubes, make sure you freeze them 3-6 hours before you need them to give the wine some time to solidify.
If you want to freeze leftover mulled wine, or are trying to freeze wine for frozen drinks or wine shushies you’ll want to use a different method.
In these cases you’ll want to use a freezer-safe container that will hold all of the wine without much room for air. That will prevent oxidization while still giving your wine some room to expand as it freezes.
Again, you should freeze your wine 5-6 hours before you need it to make sure it’s completely frozen. Then you can use a fork to break the ice apart to get a slushie texture.
Of course you might not want to freeze your wine entirely at all.
Plenty of people use their freezers as a cheap, low-effort way to chill their wine before drinking. Typically you should place a bottle of wine in the freezer 1-2 hours before drinking if you’re using your freezer to chill the wine.
The exact timing does vary from vintage to vintage though, feel free to experiment with different times until you’ve found the right temperature.
Want some more tips on how to freeze wine with tasty results? I’ve got another video coming at ya, this time about making frozen rose!
My Final Thoughts on Freezing Wine
Freezing wine might not be sommelier-approved, but you can do it anyway if you want to. Don’t worry, if your wine doesn’t come out of the freezer tasting as good as you remember, it can still be good cooking wine at least.
Cooking wine can really boost the flavor of your food, so it’s not a waste even if you do end up with cooking wine!
Plus, when freezing wine works, you’ve got a tasty and cooling treat. So, feel free, experiment away! Just avoid using the prized vintage you’ve been saving for a special occasion.