Can wine get so cold that it actually damages the wine? Tony Aspler answers that question for Decanter.
Ask Decanter: Can wine get too cold?
Richard Cross, from Bicester, Oxfordshire, asks: In the cold, dry winter of 2012 we had major house renovations which led to me moving my wine cabinet into an outhouse in which electricity had not yet been connected.
I put a small thermometer in the cabinet and recorded consistent temperatures below freezing, going down to -7°C. Can these conditions spoil the wine? I’ve opened many bottles since and haven’t found any faults yet.
Tony Aspler, for Decanter, replies: Before checking your wines, I’d check the accuracy of your thermometer. Wine begins to freeze at about -6°C (the higher the wine’s alcohol content, the lower the freezing point).
If ice forms in the bottle, the pressure through expansion will push the cork above the lip of the neck. In extreme cases this could break the hermetic seal, cause leakage and allow air in, which will oxidise the wine.
Inspect the capsules of your wines for bulging and wetness; if they look flat and dry you won’t have a problem. (Even though grapes for Canadian icewine have to be picked at -8°C, the finished wine is not impervious to freezing if temperatures are cold enough!)
Tony Aspler is is the Decanter World Wine Awards Regional Chair for Canada
Read more notes and queries every month in Decanter magazine. Subscribe to the latest issue here
Got a question for Decanter’s experts? Email us: email@example.com
White Burgundy and burning match smell is ‘not a fault’ – ask Decanter
Jasper Morris MW explains what is happening...
Are notes of vanilla a sign of American oak? – Ask Decanter
Is this true that vanilla notes in a wine are a sign it has been aged in American oak? Sarah