Do you have leftover wine from last night’s dinner party? Or have you accidentally forgotten the wine in the freezer while you were hoping to cool it? This might leave you wondering, does wine freeze?
In addition to wondering if wine freezes, you might be wondering what you’ll do with it after that? Does freezing affect the taste? Are there alternatives to keeping wine chilled without freezing it?
In our article today we’re answering all the questions you have about freezing wine. We’re also going to highlight a few alternatives to chilling wine without freezing it. Additionally, we’ll provide you with some expert tips on freezing and using leftover wine. Keep reading to ensure you never waste any leftover wine again!
The Low Down on Freezing Wine
For many wine enthusiasts, there’s a joke that goes something like, “You want to freeze leftover wine? Who has leftover wine?” Truthfully, there are a few reasons why you might have leftover wine.
You could have some leftover from your last dinner party and leaving it in the freezer will eventually ruin the taste. Or, you might have placed a bottle in the freezer to cool down, and you forgot to take it out. Yes, you guessed it, you now have a frozen bottle of wine!
Can You Freeze Wine?
The simple answer to this question is yes! You can freeze any type of wine at a temperature of 22°F or -5.6°C. Usually, it depends on the alcohol content. It’s important to note though that freezing changes the taste of most wines. This is particularly true for red wines.
Can You Freeze Both Red and White Wine?
Both red and white wines can be frozen. The results of expansion and oxidization will be the same. Red and white wine options are more effective in cooking once you’ve frozen them. Since freezing diminishes the flavors in both types of wines, it’s not recommended to drink either once it’s been frozen.
Why Do Some Wines Not Freeze?
If you’re deliberately trying to freeze your wine for cooking or cocktail purposes, it’s possible that some brands seem as though they aren’t freezing. It’s essential to note that wine requires a much lower freezing point to freeze. This is usually because of its alcohol content that varies between 12 and 13.5%. Always remember to set your freezer lower if your wine seems as though it isn’t freezing the way you need it to!
Does Freezing Wine Affect the Wine’s Flavor?
Freezing wine obviously exposes your wine to considerably low temperatures. When this happens, the acid content converts to insoluble tartar crystals which changes the flavor of the wine.
The tartar crystals release some carbon dioxide which ends up producing a “geyser “effect. This happens when you open a champagne bottle. So, unless this is your goal, it’s not a good idea to freeze wine in the bottle!
What Does Frozen Wine Taste Like?
Generally, this depends on the amount of time the wine has been frozen. For the most part though, frozen wine tastes like a very watered-down version of its original self. Flavors and aromas will be dull and there won’t be that robust or crisp flavor that attracted you to it in the first place!
Does Wine Oxidize When Frozen?
Since wine expands when it’s frozen, it generally removes the seal of the bottle. When this happens, the wine becomes prone to oxidation. What exactly is wine oxidation and how does it affect flavor?
Wine oxidation happens when your wine is exposed to air. This exposure triggers a bunch of chemical reactions. The most common reaction converts ethanol (or alcohol) into acetaldehyde.
Oxidation causes wine to lose its color and robust flavor. You’ll find your white wine turning brown and your reds becoming a dark orange.
Prolonged exposure can turn your wine into overly acidic vinegar. If you’ve left your wine in the freezer for way too long, rather use it as vinegar in your salad. Don’t attempt to drink it as it’ll be bitter and very acidic.
Can you Freeze Wine in the Bottle?
There are a number of reasons why it’s not a good idea to freeze wine directly in the bottle. Essentially, wine expands when it’s frozen. This means it could shatter the bottle if left for too long or at a very low temperature.
Another reason to avoid freezing wine in the bottle involves the cork. When the bottle expands it might push the cork out and cause the bottle to break or shatter at the top. There’s always the risk of glass getting into the wine or cutting you as you remove it from the freezer.
Avoid freezing wine in glass containers. Rather, use containers that have room for expansion. Some of these include the following:
- Silicone or plastic ice cube trays for marinades or cocktails.
- Ziplock bags for marinade or liquid sauces.
- Freezer-safe plastic containers with screw-on lids.
What Can You Do with Frozen Wine?
If drinking isn’t the best option, what can you do with your frozen wine? One of the best ways to preserve and freeze your leftover wine is to make wine ice cubes. Wine ice cubes can be used in marinades or any recipes that call for the addition of wine.
You can also pour used wine into fruit-shaped silicone cube trays to have fruity shaped cubes for cocktails or sangrias. This is how you make the wine ice cubes:
- For cocktails or sangrias, place chopped fruits in the cubes and pour the wine into the trays. Use instead of conventional water-based ice cubes. You can place the cubes directly in the glass or crush them up to make slushy wine cocktails.
- For marinade, place herbs and spices in the cubes and pour the wine into the trays.
- If you have excessive wine, make trays for cocktails and separate ones to be used as marinade.
Cooking With Frozen Wine
Cooking is one of the best ways to use frozen wine. In general, you can either use it as a marinade, cooking liquid or flavoring. Whether you use the wine warm or frozen, the flavors will still be imparted to your cooking.
It’s important to use the required amount in each recipe. Too much will overpower the other flavors while too little won’t provide any robust flavor. When pouring the leftover wine into the ice cube tray, it’s a good idea to measure the wine before freezing.
Most ice cubes equal about 2 tablespoons of wine. A tip would be to see how much wine your favorite dishes require and measure from there. As we’ve mentioned earlier, you can add herbs that you use in the recipe.
Can You Make Vinegar from Frozen Wines?
If you’re not quite sold on the ice cube idea, but you also don’t want to lose your favorite leftover wine, you still have another option. A popular idea for frozen wine involves turning your leftovers into vinegar.
Wine vinegar is a tasty condiment and a perfect option to spruce up any salad. And making your own vinegar just adds to the appreciation factor. All you’ll need is a vinegar mother, a glass jar and your leftover wine.
Follow these few easy steps to have your own tasty wine vinegar in no time:
- Combine one part regular vinegar mother with three parts of your leftover or frozen wine.
- Add to your glass jar and stir. Seal the bottle.
- Store in your pantry for about a month. The vinegar will then be ready to use with your favorite salad.
Image from Pixabay
Are there Better Methods to Chill Wine Without Freezing?
If you want to keep your wine chilled for drinking later, there are a few tips to keep your wine as cold as you want without forgetting the bottle in the freezer. Read on for handy wine chilling tips.
If you have a few bottles of wine that you’d like to keep chilled and ready for when a special occasion pops up, your best option would be a wine cooler.
Wine coolers are available in different sizes, and it’ll be easy to find a model that fits your budget and your kitchen. Moreover, there’ll always be cool wine available when you get home from a long day!
Using an ice bucket is probably the best way to chill wine ahead of your dinner. It’s also the best way to ensure you don’t forget the bottle in the freezer while you’re preparing the food.
Simply fill the bucket with cold water, ice cubes and salt. Adding salt is one of those expert tips that you should keep in mind when you’re going to use an ice bucket. Salt slows down the rate at which the ice melts, keeping the bucket and its contents cooler for longer!
You might also want to freshen up the ice in the bucket a few minutes before your guests arrive. If it’s a particularly hot day, cooling your wine glasses in the refrigerator for a few minutes is another way to add a cooler touch!
Chill in the Freezer
If you don’t have a wine bucket, it’s a good idea to place your favorite drink in the refrigerator to chill. On average, red wine takes about 45 minutes to chill properly. White wine on the other hand takes about an hour.
A tip here would be for you to set your kitchen timer or any other timer with a loud alarm. This will ensure you don’t forget the wine!
Consider Adding Frozen Grapes
For a quick chill, it’s always a good idea to add frozen grapes! Adding ice cubes will dilute the wine and hamper the taste. For this reason, frozen grapes are a perfect and tasty alternative!
Not only will it enhance the flavor, but it’ll also chill the wine. Additionally, you’ll add a bit of character to your wine glasses. Be sure to add red or black grapes for red wine and green grapes for white wine. Effectively, grapes can be frozen overnight or for a minimum of 8 hours.
While it’s true that you can freeze wine, you shouldn’t plan to thaw it and drink it. Since the taste will be slightly different, the best thing to do is make wine cubes with any leftover wine.
Since there’s so much you can do with wine cubes, it’s a great way to make sure none of your favorite vino gets wasted. If you want to drink the wine, we recommend not freezing it but rather just chilling it.