Perhaps, you have some wine left after a party. Maybe you’ve opened a bottle and drank only one glass. Storing leftover wine in the freezer seems to be an unconventional choice. However, is it possible? Does wine freeze? This article reveals what will happen to frozen wine and if it still retains all its properties.
What Happens When Wine Freezes?
Wine will freeze when placed in storage at low temperatures. However, its freezing point will depend on the alcohol content. While it is safe to consume frozen wine, drinking it may not be enjoyable. Freezing wine alters its flavors. It’s due to the conversion of its acid into tartrate crystals. These sediments give off carbon dioxide leading to a “shower” effect.
What is wine’s freezing point?
Wine freezes at 22 degrees Fahrenheit or -5.5 degrees Celsius. However, its freezing point will depend on the wine’s alcohol content. Wines with high alcohol will have lower freezing points. The following chart is a handy guide on the freezing point of liquor. It aims to show the freezing point of alcoholic beverages at various ethanol percentages.
Ethanol Content (%)
|Freezing Point °C||0||-4||9||-15||-23||-32||-37||-48||-59||-73||-115|
|Freezing Point °F||32||25||15||5||-10||-25||-35||-55||-75||-115||-175|
The average alcohol content of wines is 12.5%. Based on the chart above, we can conclude that wine freezes at about 22.5 °F. Some factors, such as non-alcoholic compounds and sulphite, may affect the freezing point.
These added ingredients may cause the freezing point to vary in different types and brands of wine. However, using the chart as a guideline for storing wine or other liquor in the freezer is safe. If you want to prevent them from freezing, you may refer to the chart.
When will the wine freeze?
As mentioned earlier, a wine’s freezing point will depend on how much alcohol it has. The average alcohol content of most wines is 12-15%. It usually takes five hours for these wines to freeze. Once the temperature reaches 20 °F below, the wine will start to freeze.
Using a kitchen timer is best when you have no choice but to put your wine in the freezer. Remember to bring it out before the time is up. It’s important to note that the consistency will change within one to three hours. The wine’s water molecules will begin transforming from liquid to solid.
What Happens When Wine Freezes?
There are some physical reactions when the wine reaches its freezing point. Aside from the slight change in taste, there are also some notable transformations when wine freezes.
What can you expect when wine freezes?
The following may occur when wine freezes. It’s best to observe these signs for your safety and enjoyment.
When you expose the wine to freezing temperatures, the alcohol will remain liquid while the water content freezes. Water molecules expand, and ice crystals will form as the wine reaches the freezing point.
It can push the cork off the bottle. When this happens, the wine gets exposed to oxygen. Too much air exposure can compromise the wine’s flavor.
An airtight bottle of wine stored in the freezer can break. The glass shards from the broken bottle can injure you or damage your fridge. Cleaning the mess up can also be tedious and time-consuming.
We may associate freezer burn with food left in the freezer for a long time. However, it can happen to wine, too. It can dehydrate the wine and degrade its quality. Exposing the wine to cold air can strip off its delightful flavors and aromas.
Does the alcohol content change when wine freezes?
The wine’s alcohol content will not change when the wine becomes frozen. A slight abv variation might occur when you consume wine as a slushy mix.
This mixture contains icy water and slightly frozen wine. It happens because wine is mostly water, and water freezes first than wine. Therefore, creating a slushy made popular in some US wineries.
Does freezing wine ruin it?
Generally, freezing wine won’t ruin it. You can still enjoy frozen wine as long as you thaw it correctly. Don’t worry if you accidentally left it in the freezer.
It may lose some of its original taste, but it won’t be entirely inedible. Your wine will be slightly better if the cork remains intact. However, if you notice that it has popped out of the bottle, it’s best not to drink it anymore.
Furthermore, a wine that’s been frozen for many weeks won’t be fun to drink. Wine enthusiasts suggest throwing it away or using it for other purposes.
What Can You Do With Frozen Wine?
If you’re not keen on drinking frozen wine, you can use it for other purposes. It can be such a shame to throw precious wine away. You can still drink if you don’t mind the slight change in taste. However, it can be a good idea to use it for cooking.
To give you an idea. Here are some kitchen applications you can do with frozen wine.
To cook, marinade, or add flavor to dishes.
When added in the right amounts, wine can bring out the aroma and flavor of many dishes. Please remember that adding too much can overpower the taste, while adding too little will have no effect.
The first step to using frozen wine for cooking is to thaw it. When it is already in liquid form, divide it into smaller portions using a silicon ice cube tray. Then, please put it back in the freezer. You can use one frozen cube for cooking instead of thawing one whole bottle.
A great tip would be to measure the wine before placing them in the ice tray. It can ensure you’ll have the exact amount you can use anytime. Please check out this helpful standard measurement guide using wine for cooking.
|Gravy||2 tbsp per cup|
|Soup||2 tbsp per cup|
|Sauces||1 tbsp per cup|
|Meats and Stews||¼ cup per pound|
|Fish||½ cup per pound|
To Make Vinegar
Making vinegar is another creative way of ensuring your frozen wine doesn’t go to waste. Wine vinegar can be great for salad dressings, dipping sauces, or pickled vegetables.
You will need a vinegar mother to make wine vinegar. The “mother” is a jelly-like membrane you can find in vinegar. It forms during the fermentation process and creates acetic acid bacteria and cellulose.
Adding it to your wine plus some oxygen exposure will turn the alcohol into vinegar. Although you can make it yourself, it’s best to buy it. Look for types of vinegar that already has this biofilm.
To make your vinegar, combine one part vinegar and three parts thawed wine. Place your mixture in a sterilized bottle and store it for a month. After this period, you will have delicious homemade white wine or red wine vinegar.
How to Deal with Frozen Wine
Freezing wine by accident is a mistake that one can easily make. It can happen to anyone. However, you can always thaw and enjoy your drink.
How to thaw wine
If, for some reason, your wine freezes, don’t worry. You can still consume and enjoy it. The key is to thaw it properly using the following tips.
- Leave the wine on a countertop and let it thaw at room temperature.
- Run it under tap water to help speed up the thawing process. Make sure that the running water is not hot.
- Remember not to thaw it in the microwave or under direct sunlight. Avoid defrosting it outdoors during scorching weather.
How to Avoid Frozen Wine
Fortunately, there are ways to ensure you won’t experience having frozen wine. Please check out the following alternatives to using your freezer to chill wine.
- Use frozen grapes: Adding ice to wine is a definite no-no. It can water down the wine’s flavor, making it less enjoyable to drink. You can drop a few frozen grapes before serving or consuming wine. It’s a creative way to chill your drink while adding a tasty ending.
- Use an ice bucket: Submerging a wine bottle in an ice bucket is a common practice. However, adding salt can make your wine cold longer. Salt can naturally lower water’s temperature. It’s an easy and economical way to chill your beverage.
- Use a kitchen timer: Set your kitchen timer if you have no choice but to pop wine in the freezer. Wine with 12-15 % alcohol can stay in the freezer for up to four hours without freezing. When the kitchen timer sets off, remove the wine from the freezer and serve it immediately.
- Plan ahead: Planning your event can save you from worrying about frozen wines. It’s best to purchase your wine at least a day before you want to consume them. Store your precious bottles in a wine chiller, if possible, to achieve the perfect wine temperature.
Does wine freeze? Sure it does. However, it’s not the end for your precious bottle. While there may be slight changes in the wine’s taste and aroma, you can still drink it. It would help if you thawed it properly to avoid drastic changes. If you don’t want to drink thawed wine, you can still enjoy it as a food enhancer.