Your guests are already arriving and you forgot to chill your wine bottles. You quickly put wine in the freezer. The party is going on well, but after the guests leave and you’re cleaning your wine glasses, you remember there is still one bottle left in the freezer. And you question yourself, does wine freeze?
Since wine is an alcoholic beverage it is right to question does it freeze? And the short answer is, yes, wine freezes. But is it wise to freeze wine, well the answer here is not that clear.
Freezing wine will affect the flavor and feel, but it is possible that it won’t be completely ruined by freezing it and you can still drink thawed wine or use it for something else.
Factors that Affect Wine Freezing
The main factor that affects wine freezing is the alcohol content, another important factor is the sugar content. This means that sweeter and stronger wines will freeze at a lower temperature than dry and lighter wines. But other aspects affect wine freezing, but they are not that significant.
Scientists already did the math on freezing points by alcohol percentage, which is of great help when determining the freezing point for our bottle of wine.
What temperature does wine freeze at?
|°C Freezing Point
|°F Freezing Point
Wine usually has somewhere between 10% and 20% alcohol content, which means it will freeze between 25 ºF and 15 ºF (-4 ºC and -9 ºC). The average wine’s alcohol content is about 12,5 %, which means that the freezing point is around 22 ºF (-5 ºC).
But the calculation does not include other compounds we find in wine, such as sulfites and sugar. Since these vary very much from wine to wine it is harder to determine the exact freezing point, but with the alcohol content, you get pretty close.
So does wine freeze?
Yes, wine freezes. Everything has its freezing point, even liquor, but because of the alcohol content, the freezing temperature is very low.
Wine has a lower alcohol content than most spirits, which means you can freeze your bottle of wine in your kitchen freezer, whereas it is harder with a bottle of vodka.
But freezing your wine bottle just by putting it in the freezer is not the safest option. Just like all liquids wine expands when freezing. But because wine is usually sealed in glass bottles, there is no room for the liquid to expand, which can lead to an explosion or more likely the cork will get pushed out.
This can lead to oxidization of wine and freezer burn. Even though oxidation is good for wine when done intentionally, this is not the case when the process occurs during freezing. If frozen wine gets exposed to air for too long it affects the wine’s flavor.
Another thing that can happen if the wine is exposed to air in the freezer it can start to dehydrate. The process is known as freezer burn. This means that frozen wine loses some of its water. In the long run, the flavor of the wine will change, it can even turn into some kind of vinegar.
Can you freeze white wine?
Yes, you can freeze white wine. The color of the wine does not affect the freezing point. But the freezing does affect the taste and texture of the wine. If the bottle was frozen for a few hours or a couple of days, you can still drink it. It won’t be the same as the fresh bottle, but it should be ok.
But there are ways to use frozen wine intentionally, for example, if you want to make a refreshing wine slushy. Just transfer the wine first to a freezer safe container and perhaps add some lemon juice or orange juice.
Can you freeze red wine?
Yes, you can also freeze red wine. But when comparing red and white wines in the freezer you have to think about the different structures.
Red wines usually have more compounds than white wine, which means it should take a bit longer to freeze. And after thawing frozen wine it’s probably best you don’t serve it with your best steak, but it should be safe to drink.
How to Prevent Wine from Freezing
The best way to avoid freezing wine is to store it in a cool, dark place, for example in a wine cellar or a wine fridge. You can also use a refrigerator thermometer to monitor the temperature and prevent freezing.
If you are scared of extremely low temperatures during winter, you can put your bottles in an insulated wine carrier bag.
But since wine is normally served chilled there is still the question of how to chill wine. Well, there are better ways to cool it down than the freezer. The best choice to chill wine is to use a wine fridge, but a normal fridge will suffice.
A quick solution is also to use ice, but don’t put ice cubes in your wine glass. Use an ice bucket. Put some ice and cold water in a bucket, throw in some salt and submerge your bottle.
A creative solution is to put frozen grapes in your glass of wine.
What temperature does wine freeze
The average alcohol content is about 12,5%, which means it would freeze at around 22 ºF (-5 ºC). But since alcohol content varies wine’s freezing point can be between 25 ºF and 15 ºF (-4 ºC and -9 ºC).
How long does it take for wine to freeze
Wine will freeze in a couple of hours if you put it in your kitchen freezer. The liquid should become solid in about 5 hours since the temperature of a classic kitchen freezer is around 0 ºF (-18 ºC).
Can you freeze wine for cooking?
Yes, you can freeze wine for cooking, it’s perfectly safe. Actually, it is one of the best ways to use leftover wine or wine, which has been frozen for a while since it tends to get a little more acidic.
We would recommend if you intentionally want to freeze wine for cooking, that you portion it by pouring the wine into ice cube trays. Wine ice cubes amount to about two tablespoons.
Can wine bottles explode when freezing?
Yes, wine bottles can explode when freezing, but it is rare.
Because liquids expand while freezing and a sealed glass bottle does not have enough space for the expanded liquid it can break or even explode. But the most likely scenario with a frozen bottle is, that the cork or screw cap will get loose.
The explosion is more likely when it comes to sparkling wine. Because of the bubbles, it is even more dangerous. If you happen to freeze a bottle of bubbly, you better slowly take it out of the freezer and let it thaw somewhere safe, for example, your garden.
Can you freeze wine into popsicles?
Yes, wine popsicles are a thing.
If you’re looking for a new twist to ice cream or something refreshing on a hot summer day, a wine popsicle is here to the rescue, even though it’s probably not what the winemaker intended.
Simple wine popsicles recipe
- 0,5 l wine (fruity red wine or sweeter white wine)
- 0,5 l lemonade
- 2 tbsp honey
You just mix all the ingredients in a bowl and pour the liquid into a popsicle tray. It is best to use a silicone one and leave some space since the liquid will expand. Put it in the freezer and wait for a couple of hours until it’s frozen solid. Now you can enjoy your adult popsicle.
While wine freezes, it is not a common occurrence and can generally be prevented by properly storing the wine in a cool, dark place and by monitoring the temperature.
Wine connoisseurs might recommend that you discard a bottle of wine that has been accidentally frozen since the freezing process alters the flavor profile and texture of the wine.
But if you tried chilling wine quickly in the freezer but then forgot about it, everything is not lost.
If the wine wasn’t exposed to air for too long or left in the freezer for weeks and months, it is still salvageable. It most likely won’t be the same as a fresh bottle, but if it smells ok, you can drink frozen wine or use it for cooking.