If you’re looking for an effective way to save wine that hasn’t been finished, it’s perfectly possible to freeze it. In fact, many professional chefs and cooks recommend this as a way of keeping small amounts ready for use in dishes.
Interestingly, wine still tastes quite fresh once it has been frozen then thawed, and if you’re keen to deglaze your pans but don’t want to open a fresh bottle solely for that purpose, a couple of wine ice cubes represent the ideal solution.
What to Consider When Freezing Wine?
There are, however, a couple of things to bear in mind when you choose to freeze leftover wine. The first is that, just like water (since wine is made up mostly of water), wine expands when it freezes. That means that if you pop an entire unopened bottle in your freezer, the wine will expand and take up all of the space in the bottle fairly rapidly.
This will present a problem since it will push out the cork, leak around the cork, result in the bottle cracking due to the excess pressure or, indeed, all of those things mentioned above. For this reason, you should always put wine into a different container when freezing it, which allows sufficient space to accommodate the expansion that will inevitably occur.
Secondly, once the wine has thawed, you may notice that tartrate crystals will have formed. These are harmless, so they won’t cause you any problems, but they typically form whenever wines are subjected to extremely cold temperatures.
If you’re freezing a sparkling wine, you should also be aware that it will probably lose all of its carbonation during the freezing process.
Which Temperature is Best for Freezing Wine?
The temperature at which you should freeze wine for the best results will depend on how high the wine’s alcohol content is. However, you’ll find that the majority of wines freeze at around 15 – 20 degrees Fahrenheit (-9 to -6 degrees Celsius). It also needs to remain at that temperature for some time before it will freeze solid.
As a rule, the higher the alcohol content of the wine, the lower its freezing point will be. Most wines have an alcohol content of around 12.5%, and this means that, on average, wine’s freezing temperature comes in at about 22.5 degrees Fahrenheit (-5 Celsius). This isn’t a precise figure, though, since some of wine’s non-alcoholic compounds and sulfites may impact on its freezing point.
Can Wine Be Spoiled During Freezing?
Sometimes, wine may be spoiled in the freezing process if care isn’t taken to prevent freezer burn. If wine hasn’t been transferred into a suitable container to allow for expansion before freezing, it can be exposed for too long to the freezing air, and this can cause it to start dehydrating.
Frozen wine may lose some water content via dehydration if it’s kept in very cold temperatures for excess periods. If you want to age your wine, you shouldn’t do it in a freezer since, over time, the aroma and flavor profile become flattened and altered.
The tannins and alcohol in the wine can also make it taste vinegary after excess time in a freezer, and this can render it unsuitable even for cooking.