At What Temperature Does Wine Freeze?
How many times did it happen to put a bottle of wine in the freezer with the intention of cooling it quickly and forgot about it for hours or even for days?
Or, if there are cold winters in the area where you leave, how many times did it happen to buy a bottle of wine and keep it for hours in a gelid car before arriving at home?
Winemakers also face the problem of where to store the wine during winter, especially if the cellar or warehouse isn’t heat insulated. And the question that arises in all these cases is: at what temperature does wine freeze? In this article, we’re going to answer exactly this question, but more important, we’re going to tell if you should freeze the wine or not. So read on.
Wine Freezing Point
The wine has a variable freezing point that depends on its alcohol percentage. Typically, most wines freeze at about 15F. However, if the wine has a higher alcohol concentration, the freezing point will be even lower.
You should know that it generally takes a long time and a really cold temperature to completely freeze wine, but this can happen if you leave it in freezing conditions for hours.
But the question that should really bother you is: what happens to the wine if it freezes? Well, if you are lucky, maybe the wine will not be seriously damaged. But there are a few good reasons why you shouldn’t freeze wine.
What Happens if Wine Freeze?
Wine is a very delicate drink that doesn’t really like temperature changes. If you make wine at home, specialists recommend to store it in a dark, cool place at a constant temperature.
However, this might not be possible always, and you can expose wine to extreme temperatures during transport or during the cooling process before opening the bottle. If extreme heat can alter the taste, so does extreme cold, but not only.
Very low temperatures can cause some of the wine’s natural acid to precipitate, forming insoluble tartar crystals inside the wine. It is useless to say that this process lowers the wine’s quality. If this may not be a big issue for the still white wine, where the change is almost imperceptible, it will completely alter the flavor of red wine.
Tartar formation will have a major impact on the quality of the sparkling wine as well. Tartar crystals cause the release of the carbon dioxide, resulting a “geyser” effect when the bottle is opened. And unless you’re planning a champagne shower, you wouldn’t be very happy to spill half of your wine.
However, tartar formation is not the only thing that should concern you. Basically, when we talk about thefrozen wine we refer to the water inside the wine that actually freezes. We should all know that frozen water expands.
The worst case scenario is finding you precious bottle of wine transformed into a pile of glass shards and wine ice cubes. But the expansion of water can cause more imperceptible damage to the cork that can alter the quality of the wine once you defrost it.
In fact, frozen wine can apply pressure on the cork, altering the integrity of the closure. In this way, the air can get into the bottle, oxidizing the wine. Your wine will become more acid, and, if left long enough, it will eventually transform into vinegar.
How to Chill Wine?
While many people are tempted to put the wine into the freezer for a quick chill, this might not be a splendid idea since you could forget about it. We already described what can happen to your wine if it freezes, so consider chilling your beverage in an alternative way.
There are many ways of chilling wine, the simplest being putting the wine in the fridge and wait for it to chill. However, if you can’t wait that long, you should simply follow the sommeliers’ suggestion. You should fill a bucket with a mix of ice and water, then place the wine bottle inside the bucket. Add some salt to the mix, then, with the help of a spoon, stir the water around the bottle.
This will make the wine inside the bottle to move. In this way, almost all the wine will come into contact with the cold glass and your wine will chill faster.
Have you ever accidentally frozen your wine? If you have any questions, suggestions or tips, please leave a comment below. And don’t forget, you should never let the wine freeze.