Curious How Mindful Drinking Can Help You Thrive? 🎉🙌
Click Here
Drinking Habits

Can You Freeze Wine?

Published:
January 31, 2024
·
17 min read
Reframe App LogoReframe App Logo
Written by
Reframe Content Team
A team of researchers and psychologists who specialize in behavioral health and neuroscience. This group collaborates to produce insightful and evidence-based content.
January 31, 2024
·
17 min read
Reframe App LogoReframe App Logo
Certified recovery coach specialized in helping everyone redefine their relationship with alcohol. His approach in coaching focuses on habit formation and addressing the stress in our lives.
January 31, 2024
·
17 min read
Reframe App LogoReframe App Logo
Recognized by Fortune and Fast Company as a top innovator shaping the future of health and known for his pivotal role in helping individuals change their relationship with alcohol.
January 31, 2024
·
17 min read
Reframe App LogoReframe App Logo
Reframe Content Team
January 31, 2024
·
17 min read

The Cold Hard Facts About Freezing Wine

  • Wine can freeze in most freezers, despite having a lower freezing point than water. Frozen wine can be thawed and consumed if the seal or bottle does not break, but don’t expect it to taste the same as before.
  • Better ways to cool wine would be putting bottles in an ice bucket or adding ice or frozen fruit to a glass of wine.
  • Reframe can help you develop mindful drinking habits around wine!

We’re looking through our freezer, and … oh no! We find a bottle of wine we stuck there a few days ago while trying to cool it down before drinking it. Is it still safe to drink? Will it taste the same? 

Keep reading to learn how wine can freeze in the freezer, when it’s safe to drink after it freezes, whether or not freezing changes it, and better ways to rapidly cool wine.

The Basics of Wine

There are four main categories of wine: whites, reds, sparkling, and fruit wines. Winemaking starts with extracting juice from grapes (or other fruits), then adding yeast. Yeast converts the sugars, producing ethanol (pure alcohol) and carbon dioxide as waste products. Carbon dioxide is released (more on this later!) and alcohol remains. Finally, sulfites are added to prevent spoilage and oxidation, and wine is bottled.

Most of the differences between wine types derive from the fermentation process. Let’s discover what makes up each of the four main types of wines. 

  • White wine. White wines generally come from light-colored grape varieties such as chardonnay, sauvignon blanc, riesling, and pinot grigio. After crushing the grapes into juice, the skins are removed, so the wine has a lighter flavor. The alcohol content of white wine lies between 5% to 14% with an average of 10% alcohol by volume (ABV).

    Darker grapes create white wines by removing the skins. Sometimes, this produces a light-colored wine, which usually makes a light pink rosé wine. The average alcohol content of rosé is 12% ABV.
  • Red wine. Dark-colored grape varieties, such as cabernet sauvignon, merlot, pinot noir, syrah, and zinfandel, make red wines. The dark color of red wine comes from the grape skins, which are left to mingle with the juice during fermentation. The skins also contribute to the color and flavor of the reds. An average red wine contains 13.5% ABV with a range of 12% to 15%.
  • Sparkling wine. Sparkling wine originates from white grapes or the same types of grapes used to make rosés. Popular sparkling wines include Champagne, prosecco, and cava. These wines undergo a second fermentation process, during which additional yeast and sugar add that characteristic sparkle to the bottle before being sealed. The process traps carbon dioxide in the bottle, creating bubbles. Sparkling wine’s alcohol content ranges from 11% to 14% ABV. 
  • Fruit wine. Fruit wines are made using ingredients other than grapes, such as fruits, flowers, and herbs. Popular fruit wines include pear, elderberry, plum, dandelion, cherry, and strawberry. They are made by fermenting fruit juice — or in the case of herbs, sweetened herbal tea — and sometimes additives such as pectic enzymes, acids, and sugar for extra flavor. The alcohol content differs based on the style and type and can range from 2% to 13.5% ABV.

Between whites, reds, sparkling, and fruit wines, there are hundreds of varieties available for us to enjoy. Wines may vary in color, taste, alcohol content, or texture, but we all have preferences in favorites and unique ways to savor them. Wine connoisseurs have different opinions about how to enjoy each type of wine. Some say never to chill red wine, while others prefer it cold. French wine lovers put ice in their white wines while Americans cringe.

If you decide to enjoy your wine cold, there are many effective ways to chill it. But what if you need to cool it down quickly?

Does Wine Freeze in the Freezer?

The short answer is yes, wine will freeze. But wine isn’t like water — wine freezes at a lower temperature than water due to the alcohol content and sugar. 

Water freezes at 32ºF (0ºC), but ethanol freezes at a lower temperature. 100% ethanol freezes at -173ºF (-114ºC), but as we learned above, wine contains alcohol levels between 5-15% ABV. Therefore, the freezing point of wine is lower than water but higher than pure alcohol.  

Wine’s sugar content also affects the freezing point. Sugar molecules decrease the freezing point of water because they interfere with the binding of the molecules. Wine contains both alcohol and sugar, which lower the wine freezing point.

An average moderately sweet wine contains roughly 12.5% ABV and has a freezing point around 22ºF (-5.5ºC). A typical household freezer should be set to 0ºF (-17.8ºC) or lower. Wine will freeze in a typical household freezer if left in for five or more hours because the freezer temperature is 0ºF and wine solidifies at roughly 22ºF. Frozen wine is an entirely different product (and no, we’re not talking about ice wine!).

Differences in Frozen Wine

We know that wine freezes in a typical household freezer, but does freezing change the wines’ taste, texture, or flavors (besides the obvious)?

Freezing wine changes wine's structure, flavor, and aroma — this happens when we defrost wine. As the temperature decreases, water molecules freeze and form ice crystals, leaving a concentrated solution of unfrozen alcohol, sugars, and acids.

Here’s what happens when these components separate:

  • Change in texture. Components of wine, such as tartaric acid, can solidify during the freeze/thaw process and stick to the bottom of the bottle. These solids do not mix back in after thawing, and the particles stick to the bottle.
  • Change in aroma/flavor loss. Those new solid chunks sticking to the bottle? They’re full of concentrated flavor. Since they’re not mixed in, the wine is less flavorful. Freezing a wine changes the aroma compounds — aroma is an important part of a wine’s flavor profile. Without it, the wine can taste stale.
  • Oxidation/freezer burn. A wine bottle’s seal can break during the freezing process. When this happens, oxygen leaks into the bottle and oxidizes the wine. Wine exposed to air can lead to “freezer burn,” which happens when water evaporates from the wine. Steady oxidation and freezer burn will turn the wine into a vinegary substance.

Is Frozen Wine Safe To Drink?

A frozen wine bottle with an intact seal is safe to drink once thawed. It might taste quite different or not be as enjoyable, but it wouldn't hurt. If the wine bottle’s seal broke in the freezer, we probably wouldn't want to drink it — the wine may have oxidized and turned into an unpleasant, vinegary substance.

While knowing that thawed frozen wine is safe to consume is reassuring, we might wonder what to do with a fully frozen bottle. Let's explore!

Thawing Frozen Wine

Before we can do anything with our icy vino, we need to unfreeze it. If you’re wondering how to unfreeze wine fast, there are a few tricks you can try.

  • Leave it out. Frozen wine will thaw at room temperature on the counter. It will produce a lot of condensation, especially in humid conditions, so consider leaving it on a towel or placing it in a sink.
  • Run room temperature water. Run lukewarm water over the bottle for several minutes. The most effective way to do this is to submerge it in a mixing bowl and allow water to flow in at a small trickle. Do not thaw under hot water. 
  • Put it in the fridge. If you have more time, put the bottle in the fridge. After 8-12 hours, it should be back to normal.

Never thaw a frozen bottle of wine under hot water, in the microwave, or in direct sunlight. This can cause the glass to shatter or explode.

Once our bottle is back in drinkable form, let’s get creative!

What To Do With Frozen Wine

There’s no need to let a frozen bottle of wine go to waste! Here are some ideas of what to do with frozen wine:

  • Drink the wine. If you are unbothered by the (potential) minor changes in taste, you can drink the thawed product.
  • Make cocktails or slushies. If you are worried about the change in flavor profile, you can mix the thawed with juice or fruit to make sangria, or blend it into a wine-based slushie.
  • Make vinegar. Leave the wine out and open at room temperature for about a month and the natural oxidation process will produce vinegar. For safety, place a piece of cheesecloth or mesh over the top to keep bugs out. For best results you will need to add a “vinegar mother,” which can be found at health food stores.

Clearly, freezing wine comes with a long list of annoyances. Luckily, there are plenty of other ways to cool wine quickly without risking the bottle (or our safety).

Best Ways To Cool Wine

Freezers might not be the best way to cool our wine, especially if we tend to be forgetful! So what are some better ways to cool wine? 

  1. Put it in the fridge. If you have a couple of hours, put the bottle in the fridge. This will safely cool it down without risking the integrity of the taste.
  2. Ice bucket method. If you need it to cool quickly, put the bottle in a bucket filled with ice, water, and salt. Spinning the bottle in this mixture will cool it in about 5-10 minutes.
  3. Set a timer. If you put wine in the freezer, set a timer so you don’t forget it’s in there.
  4. Freezer and towel method. For a rapid cool in the freezer, wrap the wine bottle in wet towels then put it in the freezer. This should cool your wine in about 20 minutes. Don’t forget to set that timer!
  5. Cool it by the glass. If you want to cool a single glass of wine, add a couple cubes of ice. If you are worried about watering down your wine, try adding frozen fruits like grapes or berries to it.

If you intentionally freeze wine, the best way to freeze it is in ice cube trays or other freezer-safe containers. Liquids expand as they turn into solids. This expansion can cause the seal or bottle to break — that can mean shards of broken glass in your freezer. Never put sparkling wine in the freezer. It is much more likely to explode due to increased pressure from the carbonation.

Key Takeaways

Throughout this article, we learned that, yes, wine does freeze! A bottle of wine completely freezes after about five hours in a typical household freezer. The good news is that the frozen wine in the back of our freezers does not need to go to waste. If the bottle remains sealed, it is safe to drink once thawed.

Summary FAQs

1. Can wine freeze?

Yes, wine freezes but at a lower temperature than water. 

2. Does wine freeze in the freezer? 

Most wines will freeze in a freezer set to the standard temperature of 0 F (-17.8 C).

3. How long does wine take to freeze in a freezer? 

Wine takes about 5 hours to freeze in a freezer.

4. Is it safe to drink wine that has been frozen? 

Yes, but it might not taste super great!

5. Can I freeze sparkling wine? 

Absolutely not. Bottles of sparkling wine are under increased pressure and are at a higher risk of exploding when frozen.

6. How do I thaw frozen wine? 

Wine can be thawed by leaving it at room temperature, placing it in the refrigerator, or running it under room temperature water.

7. How can I cool my wine fast? 

Putting wine in a bucket with ice water and salt will cool it in about 10 minutes.

Are You Ready To Stop Drinking Wine? Start With Reframe!

Have you started to think about cutting back on wine? There are a ton of benefits to living alcohol-free. Begin your journey with sobriety with small changes, and be sure to seek professional help in the process if needed. The Reframe app can be a great tool and tireless champion on your journey!

Although it isn’t a treatment for alcohol use disorder (AUD), the Reframe app can help you cut back on drinking gradually, with the science-backed knowledge to empower you 100% of the way. Our proven program has helped millions of people around the world drink less and live more. And we want to help you get there, too!

The Reframe app equips you with the knowledge and skills you need to not only survive drinking less, but to thrive while you navigate the journey. Our daily research-backed readings teach you the neuroscience of alcohol, and our in-app Toolkit provides the resources and activities you need to navigate each challenge.

You’ll meet millions of fellow Reframers in our 24/7 Forum chat and daily Zoom check-in meetings. Receive encouragement from people worldwide who know exactly what you’re going through! You’ll also have the opportunity to connect with our licensed Reframe coaches for more personalized guidance.

Plus, we’re always introducing new features to optimize your in-app experience. We recently launched our in-app chatbot, Melody, powered by the world’s most powerful AI technology. Melody is here to help as you adjust to a life with less (or no) alcohol.

And that’s not all! Every month, we launch fun challenges, like Dry/Damp January, Mental Health May, and Outdoorsy June. You won’t want to miss out on the chance to participate alongside fellow Reframers (or solo if that’s more your thing!).

The Reframe app is free for 7 days, so you don’t have anything to lose by trying it. Are you ready to feel empowered and discover life beyond alcohol? Then download our app through the App Store or Google Play today!

Call to action to download reframe app for ios usersCall to action to download reframe app for android users
Reframe has helped over 2 millions people to build healthier drinking habits globally
Take The Quiz
Our Editorial Standards
At Reframe, we do science, not stigma. We base our articles on the latest peer-reviewed research in psychology, neuroscience, and behavioral science. We follow the Reframe Content Creation Guidelines, to ensure that we share accurate and actionable information with our readers. This aids them in making informed decisions on their wellness journey.
Learn more
Updated Regularly
Our articles undergo frequent updates to present the newest scientific research and changes in expert consensus in an easily understandable and implementable manner.
Table of Contents
Call to action for signing up reframe app
Relevant Articles
No items found.
Ready to meet the BEST version of yourself?
Start Your Custom Plan
Call to action to download reframe app for ios usersCall to action to download reframe app for android users
review
31,364
5 Star Reviews
mobile
3,250,000+
Downloads (as of 2023)
a bottle and a glass
500,000,000+
Drinks Eliminated

Scan the QR code to get started!

Reframe supports you in reducing alcohol consumption and enhancing your well-being.

Ready To Meet the Best Version of Yourself?
3,250,000+ Downloads (as of 2023)
31,364 Reviews
500,000,000+ Drinks eliminated
Try Reframe for 7 Days Free! Scan to download the App