Wine can be tricky when it comes to serving temperatures. Some wines are better served at room temperature, or just slightly cooler than room temperature, while other wines are best served even cooler. Regardless of what temperature your wine should be served at, there’s nothing worse than realizing your guests are coming over and you forgot to put the bottle in the fridge.
Chilling wine can help bring out the best flavors in a bottle but serving wine at the wrong temperature can leave a bad taste in your mouth. If you forget to put the bottle in the fridge or the wine chiller before your guests arrive, never fear, there are a few things you can do to help cool down your wine in a short amount of time.
Let’s take a look at a few ways to help chill your wine when you’re in a hurry.
Chilling Wine in a Hurry
1. Put it in the Freezer
The most obvious thing to do, depending on how much time you have, is to put the bottle of wine in the freezer instead of the fridge.
The freezer is typically set to be around zero degrees Fahrenheit while your fridge is set to be just above freezing. The extra coldness of the freezer will help cool off your bottle of wine faster than the refrigerator will, but you need to be careful.
Place the bottle of wine on its side in the freezer for about 30 minutes and then remove. This will ensure that the wine gets colder, but does not freeze. You don’t want to have to clean up that mess if the wine bottle were to break from freezing too much. You also don’t want to serve wine slushies… unless of course that’s the goal.
2. Ice in a Metal Bucket
If you’ve ever been to a barbecue and grabbed a beverage out of an ice filled cooler then you know just how cold those drinks can get. If you’re looking to cool down your wine quickly, this method will work even better than just placing the bottle on its side in the freezer.
First you want to fill up a metal bucket with a little bit of ice. Next, you want to place your bottle of wine in the bucket, on top of the ice, and then pour more ice over the bottle so that the majority of the bottle is submerged in the ice.
Once that is done, leave the bucket sitting out for about 15-20 minutes and your bottle of wine should be cool enough to pop open and enjoy.
3. Salted Ice Bath
If you need to shave a few minutes off of your chilling time and you’re utilizing the ice bucket method we mentioned above, then adding a little bit of salt and water can make all the difference.
By adding about ½ pound of salt, as well as water, to your ice bath you can lower the temperature of the ice/water mixture from about 32 degrees down to 10 degrees, which will certainly help chill your wine quickly.
The only problem with this method is that you need ½ pound of salt to really lower the temperature of the ice and water. Some places will recommend a few tablespoons of salt, but with that little amount added you’re not doing much more than wasting good salt.
You’ll also want to turn the bottle itself every 30 seconds to a minute to help agitate the wine and ensure that every bit of liquid is getting cool.
4. Place Poured Glasses in the Fridge
Another way to help reduce the temperature of your wine is to pour a couple glasses and then place those glasses in the refrigerator.
Because the glasses hold less liquid than the entire bottle itself, the wine in the glasses will reduce temperature a lot faster than if you were trying to chill the entire bottle of wine.
5. Ice Cubes
We only recommend this method if it’s a last resort.
Putting ice in your wine will help to lower the temperature of the wine, but it will also cause the wine to become water down. You’ll end up with wine that tastes nothing like what the winemaker intended, and you may not even like it because of that.
We understand that some people do like ice in their wine, but as winemakers we cannot say that we recommend this method of chilling your wine.
If you’re looking for a more creative way to chill wine, and you’re not in a hurry, freeze some grapes and use those instead of ice cubes. They won’t dilute your wine and they will add a little flair to your drink.
It’s best to make sure you chill your wine ahead of time, but these methods above will help you out if you’re in a bind. Just be sure not to freeze the wine (unless that’s the desired outcome) and try not to use ice cubes in your glass if possible.