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Should you put wine in the freezer? – ask Decanter

You’re looking forward to enjoying a cool glass of wine on a warm day, but realise it’s not been chilled. Is putting it in the freezer your best option? And what happens when it goes wrong?

Should you put wine in the freezer?

Matt Walls, Decanter‘s Rhône correspondent , recommends putting your wine in the freezer for 22 minutes for lightly chilled, and 28 minutes for fully chilled.

Xavier Rousset MS, sommelier and restaurateur, shared his top tip for speeding it up further.

‘Wrap the bottle in a wet cloth then put it in the freezer for about 10 minutes.

The most important thing is not to forget about it.

Set a timer on your phone or watch so you don’t leave the bottle in there.

Can you put sparkling wine in the freezer?

You can put your sparkling wine, such as Champagne, Prosecco or Crémant, in the freezer – but as mentioned above, do not forget about it.

Sparkling wines are slightly more risky, due to the carbon dioxide, which give them the bubbles.

That’s why it is probably best to give them a bit less time  – a quick 20 minutes in the freezer can help to chill your bottle of Champagne. 

When wine is forgotten in the freezer

Members of the Decanter team have all had their own disasters after putting wine in a freezer.

‘My birthday Laurent-Perrier rosé shattered into a million pieces and turned the freezer pink,’ said Laura Seal, former content producer for Decanter.

‘I had to defrost it to get all the glass out, and lots of mysterious food surfaced from housemates long gone.’

‘I put a bottle of Champagne, that was an engagement present, in the freezer hoping to drink it that evening with a barbecue,’ said James Button, Decanter’s regional editor for Italy.

‘Alas, opened the freezer door about three hours later to discover the neck had parted ways with the body.’

And it’s not just sparkling wines that have potential to burst in the freezer.

‘Mine was a bottle of Freddie Emile, Trimbach 1997,’ said Harry Fawkes, Decanter’s former digital publisher.

‘I was a few bottles in at a dinner party and decided I wanted that. I got a Riesling and glass ice lolly instead.’

Other ways of chilling wine

Freezers have the advantage of speed, but if you’re not in such a hurry, there other ways to chill your wine:

  • An ice bath or bucket. Fill with ice cubes and cold water and make sure the bottle is submerged. Rousset recommends adding some salt to the water too.
  • Remember, ice sleeves are great for keeping a wine cool that’s already been chilled – but are not as good for trying to cool the whole bottle. It’s worth always having a few in your freezer, ready to go.
  • Keep some grapes frozen in your freezer, and pop these in your glass, says Peter Richards MW. They’ll work like ice cubes in wine, but without diluting the wine.
  • For big spenders, the Kaelo iceless ice bucket can be built into your kitchen

Originally published in 2017 and updated in June 2021. 

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