You might be a novice on the heady tastes and textures of great wines in the wine world, or you could already be one of those seasoned wine connoisseurs that have that impeccable taste when it comes to the subject of fine aged grapes. In any case, you may already have experienced the dilemma of what to do with an unfinished bottle of wine that may have been accidentally left in the freezer, frozen.
Is frozen wine still good wine? Let’s find out.
Now the Question Is, Can You Freeze Wine?
The answer is yes. There’s no need to chuck it down the drain since it isn’t necessarily bad for your health. First off, wine wouldn’t freeze solid stiff due to its alcohol content. At best, you’d end up with something like a slush, which is a good variety of frozen wine. Understandably, most wine enthusiasts wouldn’t recommend freezing wine, and neither would they encourage you to throw it away. But one thing is clear, frozen doesn’t mean it has to go to waste.
What Happens When You Freeze Wine?
For some, putting wine in the freezer is suitable since freezers are dark. It invariably lessens the effects of light on the wine. Personally, you might find it useful to put wine in the freezer, and it’s likely some won’t share your opinion. Nevertheless, you can put wine in the freezer but with some limitations.
Just like any other liquid, wine expands when it freezes. And if it is stored in the freezer, sealed in an unopened bottle, it is possible that the cork might be pushed out. This will expose the wine to the air causing the wine to oxidize. The same thing happens if the bottle breaks. Moreover, if it stays in the freezer for too long, it may also suffer freezer burn.
A freezer burn is any material (including your favorite wine) that is left open inside for too long, causing the ice to dehydrate the wine. The wine eventually loses some of its water content as the burn causes it to lose its body and flavor, making it tasteless and flat. On the other hand, a freezer burn can turn the wine into something vinegary that might not even be suitable for cooking. Now that is ruined.
Freezing Wine May Change the Taste Profile a Bit
If you correctly freeze your wine, you may still enjoy the second pour of your thawed wine bottle since the party the other night. This is the big difference between purists and other wine lovers that don’t mind a slight difference in taste. It won’t taste the same, but it won’t taste bad either.
However, if the cork is broken, letting in the air into the bottle even while in storage will still oxidize and affect color and flavor. What it will do is mostly fade in color and taste, which then eventually turns into vinegar. And if that happens, you may also want to consider it already undrinkable.
At What Temperature Does Wine Freeze?
Wine starts to solidify at 22°F, but this largely depends on the alcohol content of the wine. The higher the alcohol content, the lower its freezing point.
Generally, the average alcohol content is 12.5% in volume. The freezing temperature also differs from what else could be in the bottle, like other compounds that may affect the freezing point.
How To Freeze My Wine
Note that wine freezes in standard freezers as quickly as 5 hours. This is because most of the freezers today are set up with temperatures that are lower than your average freezing point for wines.
As we have mentioned, wine can only freeze solid in much lower temperatures in which at this point, you might be asking, At best, what consistency can my frozen wine take? It could become a slush with alcohol in it.
Use a Freezer-safe Container that Will Allow for Expansion
When freezing your wine, please don’t do it in sealed glass bottles. Use a container that lets as much air out and some space to allow it to expand. One option is to use a silicone ice cube tray then wrap it in an airtight plastic wrap. And then place it inside a Ziplock bag and put it in the freezer. You may take it when you are ready to consume your frozen wine.
One other option for you is to go for plastic freezer containers with screw-on lids.
How to Freeze and Drink Thawed Wine
If, in case, you inadvertently froze wine in a bottle, check the bottle first for cracks. If you see any, discard it. If you have an already opened wine bottle and you think you may want to freeze it and drink it some other day, try freezing it uncorked. Once it freezes, put back the cork and keep it in the freezer until you are ready to use it again.
Remember, once you thaw the frozen wine, make sure to use it immediately to capture some of the wine’s flavor, like when it was newly opened.
If you find the flavor of thawed wine unappealing, go ahead and make a mixed drink turning it into a cooler o or maybe something more flavorful like Sangria.
Freezing Wine to Make Slushies
The recent invention of the wine slushie in 1984 by Christi Merritt has spawned unlimited variations of this popular cooling ice drink. It’s just like your regular slush, except that it is made out of wine at approximately 3.5% ABV or Alcohol By Volume. It’s a fun drink for adults that can be reinvented in so many ways.
How to Make a Wine Slushie
- Use a freezer-safe container and freeze wine between 4-6 hours
2. Remove from freezer and break up frozen wine using a spoon or fork
3. Serve in wine glasses with a spoon.
4. You may add flavor if so desired by blending the frozen wine and your favorite fruit in the blender.
5. Serve in a wine glass and enjoy.
Using Leftover Wine for Cooking
If the wine is inevitably far past its acceptable flavor, consider using it for cooking. You can directly use frozen wine cubes to melt into a pan for cooking. It’s not yet vinegar, but it will still lend that unique rich taste that only wine can do to your favorite recipe. Freezing wine may remove some of its nuances but will definitely retain much of its general flavor.
The general flavor profile will still do its job of enriching the flavor of your sauces and steaks. You may also use it as vinegar when it has already fermented sour.
What if I Want to Chill Wine and Not Freeze It?
Chilling your wine may be as simple as putting it in ice in a bucket. But if the freezer is your only option, it takes about an hour for white wine to get to serving temperature, while it takes 45 minutes for red wine to reach chilled pleasure.