Does Freezing White Wine Ruin It?

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It’s Friday evening after a hard day’s work, and there’s no better way to unwind than drinking your favorite white wine over some cool music. Your first thought is to freeze it for at least two hours. You need it chilled by the time your friends come over. But you are hesitant as you wonder if anything will happen to it? Will it get ruined? Will it be worth the risk? Will it affect the taste of wine? We've done the work to bring you the answer.

The answer depends on several reasons. Freezing leftover wine that has a lot of space in the bottle will most likely not present any problems. However, if you freeze a full bottle of wine, it will expand, spilling out the wine. The bottle will most likely break if it has a wire-caged cork or screw top.

There are facts about freezing wine that you need to understand. Keep reading to gain in-depth knowledge about freezing white wine.

An up close photo different bottles of white wine, Does Freezing White Wine Ruin It?

What Happens If You Freeze White Wine?

Freezing wine is perfectly fine if you want to preserve it. But it is also important to understand what exactly happens to your white wine before deciding to freeze it.

A man and woman toasting a drink of white wine

1. Expansion

Wine will always expand when it freezes. This could cause the bottle to break if there isn’t enough room inside. If the bottle does not break, then the cork could end up being pushed out or the seal on the screw top broken.

When this occurs, the wine gets oxidized after air finds its way into the bottle, turning it into vinegar. At this point, it will have lost its fruity characteristics, color, and begin to smell like bruised apples.

2. Change In Flavor

Oxidation of wine can cause its flavor to change dramatically. But, if the cork or screw is not forcefully opened during freezing, then the flavor will not be significantly altered. A regular wine drinker will hardly notice the change.

3. Sedimentation

Have you ever noticed any crystalline sediment in your wine? They are sometimes referred to as ‘wine diamonds’ by wine lovers. Tartaric acid, a component of wine that creates its tartness, when subjected to freezing ends up being insoluble thus binding up with potassium to form crystals.

There’s no need to worry when you see these sediments, as they are harmless and a part of the wine.

Will A Frozen Bottle Of Wine Explode?

In some situations, your bottle of wine may explode when frozen. In other cases, you’ll only find wine oozing out of the bottle.

An exploded bottle of wine not only creates a mess, but you simply cannot drink it. However, the type of wine that is most likely to explode is the bubbly one. If you must chill this kind of wine fast, then you would rather use the following cooling methods and prevent a mess and loss.

1. Wrap A Wet Towel Round Your Wine Bottle  

Take a wet towel and wrap it around your bottle, which is at room temperature and place it in the freezer for 30 minutes. The reason for doing this is because water is a better conductor of temperature than air, and will therefore cool more quickly.

2. Ice Bath Horizontally

This is a popular method also practiced in restaurants. It requires that you take a dishpan, place your bottle of wine inside in a horizontal position, and then cover with ice and lastly add water. In only 11 to 13 minutes, it will have worked wonders and your wine will have cooled to the preferred temperature ready to serve.

3. The Ziploc Cooling

The Ziploc cooling method requires that you remove the wine from the bottle and transfer it to a Ziploc bag, seal it, and place it inside ice-cold water. Within 2 minutes your wine will have cooled to 50 degrees Fahrenheit. The effort to cool it down becomes a lot easier since glass is a poor thermo-conductor.

Another alternative is to pour the wine into glasses and cover them with plastic wrapping and place them in the fridge. Compared to the bottle, the glasses should be thinner and smaller, to allow cooling, which only takes 30 minutes instead of 90 minutes.

4. Add Frozen Ice Into Your Glass Of Wine

This is another popular method whereby special ice cubes are placed into the wine without diluting it. Adding frozen grapes will work just as well and cool your drink to the desired level.

Does Freezing Wine Affect Alcohol Content?

The alcohol content is determined during fermentation when the sugar in the grapes is turned into alcohol. Once it is complete, the alcohol content in the wine remains the same throughout its lifetime.

The alcohol content does not change in white wine due to freezing. However, if it is forced open due to freezing causing the contents to come into contact with air, the characteristics of the wine such as taste will be interfered with.

How Long Can White Wine Stay In The Freezer?

It is important to understand the difference in temperatures required for storing wine, and chilling wine to serve it.  

An up close photo different bottles of white wine, Does Freezing White Wine Ruin It?

1. Long-term Storage

Wine is sensitive to change in temperatures and should therefore be stored at the appropriate temperature to maintain its quality. The ideal storage temperature for white wine is 55 degrees Fahrenheit. However, a little deviation of 2 degrees Fahrenheit upwards or downwards is still considered safe.  

Consistency is highly recommended as drastic changes in temperature can interfere with the chemical interaction of the wine.

2. Chill to Serve

Most wines today are meant to be consumed within six months; therefore it has to be stored at the appropriate serving temperature. The aim of serving wine at certain temperatures is to provide the right environment to maintain the aroma, color, and flavor of the wine, and not necessarily to preserve it.

Amongst the white wines, Chardonnay, a heavy-bodied wine, is best served at 50 to 54 degrees Fahrenheit. Others like the light and medium-bodied white wines are best served between 43 and 50 degrees Fahrenheit.

In Closing

White wine does not necessarily get ruined when you freeze it. However, if the wine needs to be cooled fast, and to prevent any spillage or breakage of the bottle due to freezing, it is best to follow the recommended methods of cooling.

To maintain the characteristics of wine, it is important to store it at its appropriate temperature. It’s also crucial to note the different storage temperatures required for long-term storage, and for serving wine chilled.  

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