Does Wine Freeze? How Extreme Temperatures Affect Wine

Whether you just open too many wine bottles at a party or simply aren’t a big drinker, at some point, you’ll be facing the dilemma of a partially consumed bottle going to waste. But, don’t worry. We’ll tell you everything you need to know about freezing the rest of that bottle.

At What Temperature Does Wine Freeze?

An open bottle of wine that you can’t finish is not a lost cause, as wine can be frozen. While the wine may be past being enjoyed on its own, it can be frozen for other purposes.

The average wine freezes at 15 °F; however, the freezing point varies depending on the alcohol content of the wine—the more alcohol in the wine, the lower the freezing point. If your wine has an average alcohol content of 14%, its average freezing temperature should be around 22 °F.

It takes 6 hours for wine to freeze in a standard kitchen freezer completely, which is around 0 °F. That’s much colder than the average freezing point of most wines. And that’s the reason why wines freeze quickly in standard freezers.

On the contract, wine may never actually freeze if stored only at 15-20 °F and not below. This is because the water molecules in wine freeze first and leave alcohol molecules behind. The unfrozen part then becomes more alcoholic. And as its alcohol content goes up, the freezing point goes down, making the wine slushy and not frozen solid. Hence, if you want to freeze wine successfully, keep it at a temperature that’s lower than its freezing point.

What Happens When You Freeze Wine?

Someone who’s just getting started with wine drinking might attempt to freeze a leftover wine. But, what exactly happens when one allows a bottle of wine to freeze?

First of all, you can’t drink it immediately after getting out.

As with anything frozen, you can’t drink it right away. You either wait up to 3 hours for the ice to melt or run your bottle of wine under warm water. The waiting game will definitely ruin your mood for wine. And the worst part? The fresh fruit flavors are no longer there, so the wine will likely taste different if not unpleasant.

The bottle could explode.

Needless to say, the liquid expands as it solidifies. This means that freezing could make your bottle explode. The wine will slowly build up pressure, pushing the cork out. It could also be that the bottle starts cracking up before it breaks off completely. You will then have to deal with the glass shards and the frozen pieces of wine.

The wine could have a sharp, sour flavor.

Once the cork is pushed out while the bottle is in the freezer, air will creep in and oxidize the wine. In turn, the wine could have a sharp, sour flavor similar to vinegar.

So, Should You Still Freeze Wine?

If you have leftover wines, you can freeze them for various purposes: cooking, making vinegar and making sangria or slushies. But, it’s essential to utilize a container that allows for expansion.

Other people freeze wine in sealed glass bottles, but we do not recommend this. It’s preferable to utilize a container that keeps as much air out as possible but lets the wine expand as it freezes.

For small amounts of leftover wine, your best bet is to use an ice cube tray. Make sure to place the ice cube tray in a zip lock bag before you freeze it. Alternatively, you can store your wine in plastic freezer-safe containers with screw-on lids.

For Cooking

For most recipes, all you need is a small amount of wine. This is where freezing a few ice cubes come in very handy. When cooking, you can just grab as many or as few cubes as needed and throw them straight into the pan.

Whether you want to add a little zing to your pasta or add a nutty, rich flavor to your chicken marsala, it’s nice to know that cooking is yet another way where you can make the most of your leftover wine. Besides, cooking with wine intensifies, enhances and accents the food’s flavor and aroma. Don’t hesitate to experiment with your leftover wine as the alcohol in it evaporates while the food is cooking, and the only thing left is the flavor.

For Making Vinegar

Another way to make the most of your lovely wine is to use it for making vinegar. Using red and white wine vinegar is an excellent way to amp up the flavor without stressing adding body fat. Interestingly, these wine vinegars pair well with hearty foods, and nothing is more fulfilling than knowing you’ve made them yourself.

There is one thing you need, though, when making wine vinegar: a vinegar mother. It refers to a gelatinous disc that forms on top of the liquid being turned into vinegar. It seems like a slice of wobbly raw liver and is composed of a form of cellulose created by the bacteria-producing acetic acid.

While you can make the vinegar mother yourself, you can simply purchase pure vinegar, which has strands of friendly bacteria floating around in the bottle. These tiny bacteria turn your wine into a brand new batch of vinegar.

The steps to making wine vinegar are incredibly straightforward. First, melt the frozen wine and use it to fill a loosely covered container. Then, spoon out the vinegar mother from the pure vinegar and add that to the container. If you begin to see the webby strands of mother sinking to the bottom of the liquid, the bacteria is starting to accomplish their mission. After 2-3 months, you’ll have your very own white or red wine vinegar.

For Making Sangria or Wine Slushies

If you have leftover wine after a big party with friends, don’t force yourself to drink it all up nor throw it into the trash. Instead, freeze the wine for future use. When you need to make sangria, just grab the frozen wine, add a bit of simple syrup, brandy, and loads of citrus fruit.

Alternatively, use frozen wine to make wine slushies. To do this, put the ice cubes into a high powered blender. Blend until a slushie-like consistency is achieved. Then, pour into a chilled wine glass and top it off with a fresh garnish.