Does Wine Freeze? (& What Happens if It Does?)

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Let’s say that your friend is coming over for a few glasses of wine, but you remembered that you didn’t put the few bottles you had in the fridge. If you put the wine in the freezer, will it be slushy by the time they get there? Or does it only chill and not freeze?

Wine can freeze. However, the freezing point is much lower than with water due to the alcohol content, making wine much harder to freeze. Depending on the alcohol content, as well as the supplements added to the bottle, the wine typically freezes at around 22 °F (-5.6 °C).

Freezing a bottle of wine solid is not an easy thing to do. However, it does happen on occasion. In this article, I will explain how wine freezes and what you can do when it does, so let’s get started.

Why Wine Freezes

It’s important to remember that wine consists of water and alcohol. While the watery part is easy to freeze, the alcohol bit is a whole different story. Pure alcohol freezes at around -174.5 °F (-117.7 °C).

A typical bottle of wine contains around 13.5% of alcohol. Other ingredients, such as sugars, also help significantly lower wine’s freezing point, making freezing wine on accident a difficult chore.

While technically possible, freezing a bottle of wine is hard to do at home. Let’s see what it takes to do so.

How Long Does It Take for Wine To Freeze in a Home Freezer?

As already mentioned a few times, wine can be frozen, either accidentally or on purpose. 

Freezing a bottle of wine in a standard home freezer takes 4 – 6 hours, home experiments find. Forgetting a bottle in the freezer can happen to the best of us. Fridges with a freezer section are barely up to the task, as their average temperature is around 0 °F (-18 °C).

Can Wine Freeze in a Car?

Forgetting a bottle of your favourite red or white wine in the car and finding it frozen solid is extremely unlikely.

Wine can freeze in a car, but it’s not likely. Even in the harshest weather conditions, the temperature can rarely stay low enough for the bottle to freeze. You’re much more likely to find the bottle perfectly chilled and ready to drink.

There are better inexpensive options to chill your favourite drink.

How Can I Thaw Wine?

You can thaw wine by allowing it enough time at room temperature to liquify. Unlike frozen meats and similar products, you can’t place a bottle of wine in a microwave to speed up the process. 

If you do, you’re risking compromising the bottle and making a mess or potentially running the microwave. If you somehow manage to freeze a bottle, remember that patience is the key. A bottle of wine shouldn’t take more than 3 hours to unfreeze completely.

Is Wine Still Good After Freezing?

What happens if you’ve given the bottle (or multiple ones) enough time to freeze? Should you just throw them out, or are they safe to drink?

Wine is still good after freezing, as there’s nothing wrong with wine that has been frozen and thawed. It is perfectly safe for regular use once it’s thawed, which proves how safe this wine is. In fact, chefs commonly freeze it just like ice cubes to use in cooking.

Both white and red wines can be frozen and used once they’ve returned to their original aggregate state, both for drinking and cooking. Making cocktails with wine ice cubes is another excellent trick to have up your sleeve.

There’s one thing that can go bad with wine while it’s freezing:

Wine connoisseurs say that the cork can get pushed out due to the pressure that builds as the ice crystals form around liquid molecules in the bottle. This process can cause air to sneak in, leading to oxidation. 

Furthermore, the same source claims that wines that have been frozen change in taste slightly.