Wine & Wine Equipment Expert / Founder at Kosmonaut
Daniel has always been a wine enthusiast, ever since being a student at Cornell. Following his BBA in Business, he attended The Culinary Institute of America, to study a Masters in Wine and Beverage Management, where he further expanded his expertise in all things relating to wine and wine equipment.
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Have you ever left a bottle of wine in the freezer so long that it became so chilled you thought it would freeze? We sometimes find ourselves in this situation and might conclude that wine never freezes.
Although virtually everyone knows the freezing temperature of water, only a few are sure if wine freezes, let alone its freezing temperature.
Due to wine’s alcoholic content, its freezing temperature is relatively lower than water’s. Also, the freezing temperature of wine depends on the amount of alcohol present in the drink. This makes its freezing conditions quite tricky, unlike water.
Freezing wine isn’t necessarily wrong. However, there are some things you should consider before freezing it. Therefore, we’ve got valuable tips if you’re searching for the best means to preserve leftover wine.
At What Temperatures Does Wine Freeze?
Generally, the average alcoholic content in wine is around 12.5%, which means that the average freezing temperature is about 22°F. However, due to different wine contents, there’s a freezing range. Wine freezes at a temperature of 15°F to 22.5°F (-9.4°C to – 5.28°C).
During freezing, the water molecules present in wine are the first to freeze, followed by the alcohol. As mentioned above, this freezing temperature depends on the type of wine. Wines with higher alcoholic volumes take longer to reach freezing point than the less alcoholic ones.
For instance, wines like Chardonnays will freeze at 16°F to 20°F, while most red wines freeze at temperatures of at least 15°F. Therefore, to determine a wine’s freezing point, you must first consider the alcohol volume.
What Happens After Wine Freezes?
Although nothing horrible happens when wine freezes, it takes a long time for it to thaw. You might have to wait for about one to two hours which can be frustrating.
Freezing wine isn’t the best method of wine consumption. It alters the quality and changes the taste, which you wouldn’t want. When subjected to very low temperatures, the acid present transforms into tartar crystals which affect the beverage’s flavor.
Also, wine expands at freezing temperatures, and as ice crystals form, it starts to push the cork from the bottle. This expansion could lead to the cracking of the wine bottle, exposing it to air, therefore leading to oxidation. Be mindful that excess oxidation can turn your wine into a vinegary mess. As a result, you should use a proper wine preservation technique to prevent this occurrence.
Furthermore, wines can become freezer-burned when exposed to very low temperatures.
Ways to Chill Wine Without Freezing
There are various ways to keep your wine cold without risking the effects of freezing the wine. Here are some tips for you.
Place Inside a Refrigerator
Refrigerators are a great way to chill your wine. Simply put the wine bottle inside the fridge, and allow it to become cold. However, this method can take long, making you wait for hours. White wine requires less refrigeration time than red wine. If you can’t wait for long, explore other chilling alternatives.
Use of a Salty Ice Bucket
Using a nice ice bucket is a fantastic way to keep wine chilled. You can do this by submerging the wine bottle in an ice bucket filled with ice and salt. Salt is necessary because it reduces the melting point of ice, making you enjoy the benefits for longer.
Adding about 30 grams of salt to one liter of ice and water will reduce the freezing point by a degree. In addition, some wine chillers do not require ice. Instead, they employ insulated stainless steel to chill your wine bottle.
Use Frozen Grapes
Frozen grapes are a creative way to keep wine chilled. Freeze the grapes and add them to your cup of wine. It’s an excellent way to cool wine since it won’t reduce the wine’s flavor when it starts thawing. Instead, it improves the wine’s flavor and gives your drink a pleasant look.
Try Chilled Metal Wine Stones
This is another easy way of cooling your wine. These metal wine stones have little holes around their surface to eliminate excess heat while keeping your drink cold. You can fill water into these stones and freeze them before placing them into the wine glass cup. This is a great alternative as these stones don’t consume much freezer space and don’t melt quickly like ice cubes.
Employ the Paper Towel Wrap
The paper towel wrap is great if you want to quickly chill your wine. To begin, get a few sheets of paper or a dish towel. Wet the towel in cold water, and wrap it around the wine bottle before keeping it in the freezer. Allow for about 20 minutes in the freezer or 10 minutes for red wine. After this set time, you’ll get a nice chilled wine ready for consumption.
Purchase a Wine Fridge
Although this may sound like an expensive option, it’s an excellent way to preserve wine. Wine fridges are designed solely for preserving and keeping wine cold at a constant temperature. They come in various designs, and you’ll find affordable wine fridges that suit your budget. It’s a great option if there’s enough space in your kitchen or dining area.
How to Thaw Frozen Wine
Unless you’re cooking with frozen wine, microwaving or placing the wine in an oven is a bad idea. This is because it reduces the wine quality faster in its frozen state.
The most natural way to thaw frozen wine is to leave it at room temperature. When at room temperature, the wine slowly defrosts. Placing the wine in a bowl or bucket of lukewarm water quickens the thawing process, and the time it takes to defrost depends on the condition of the frozen wine.
Remember, whatever you do, never apply heat to the frozen wine, as wines don’t tolerate sudden temperature changes.
Ways to Use Frozen Wine
If you have frozen wine around you, there is no reason to throw it out. There are some reasons people choose to freeze wine. Here are some various uses of frozen wine.
Cooking with frozen wine helps improve the aroma of some special dishes, intensifying the taste. While using it to cook, be sure to include the right amount. Too little won’t be effective, and too much will have a strong effect.
Also, making wine cubes from the leftover wine helps to reduce wastage and makes measurement easier while cooking. You can do this using an ice cube tray.
Sangria is a Spanish drink that’s easy to make. It’s made from red wine and can be a wonderful treat at any party. To make sangria, you’ll need frozen red wine, a jug, Brandy, orange juice, and sugar.
Pour the frozen wine into the jug, and add a little quantity of Brandy, one cup of orange juice, and three tablespoons (tbsp) of sugar.
Stir the mixture and pour it into your glass cup.
For extra garnishing, you can include orange and apple slices.
The wine jelly is great with cheese, crackers, and pastries. For this, you’ll need frozen wine, dry pectin, a saucepot, sugar, lemon juice, a stove, a water bath, and hot clean jars.
In a big sauce pot, add wine, lemon juice, and two ounces of dry pectin.
Frequently stir the mixtures while boiling them, and add 4½ cups of sugar while also stirring till it dissolves.
Continue to stir, and boil sufficiently for one minute.
Next, remove the saucepot from the fire, and remove the foam on top of the boiled mixture.
Transfer the liquid into hot sterile jars, leaving some space between the top of the hot jelly and the top of the container.
Close the jars with the sterile lids before placing all the jars in boiling water for about 10 minutes.
Excess wine oxidation eventually makes wine turn into vinegar. To get started with this procedure, thaw the frozen wine and include vinegar mother.
The vinegar mother contains cellulose and develops on the fermenting alcohol. You can purchase vinegar mother, or take the extra step of growing them at home. Wine vinegar is popular in some Mediterranean cuisines and can be used in the kitchen as seasoning or meat dressing.
Slushies are of two different types, namely, basic and fruit slushies. For the basic slushies, you’ll need a fork, wine, glass cup, durable jar, and freezer.
Making basic slushies involves pouring the wine into the jar and freezing it for about five hours. Once it’s frozen, remove, crush with a fork, then pour into a glass cup, and enjoy.
For the fruit slushies, you’ll need a blender, berries, frozen wine, and a glass cup. Blend the berries and frozen wine with a blender for about 30 seconds, and pour into the glass cup.
Wrapping It Up
As mentioned earlier, the freezing temperature of wine depends on certain factors like the alcoholic content and type of wine. There are better alternatives to freezing, such as frozen grapes and salty ice buckets.
Remember that frozen wine can be transformed into some exciting delicacies. Therefore, if you accidentally freeze wine, consider it an opportunity to try out any of these delicacies we’ve listed above.
We hope this article satisfies your curiosity about the freezing temperature of wine