Ever wonder how to chill your wine fast? We’ve all been there – you’re lugging your groceries home, wrists ablazing and wrapped in one too many plastic grocery bags (who could be bothered to take more than one trip?!) and it hits you. That crushable summer wine you just spent a half hour tracking down in the wine aisle? It’s lukewarm, straight out of the hot car, and arguably the opposite of refreshing.
Maybe you’re looking to dive right into your Bright Cellars box when it’s delivered to your doorstep (bonus: no borderline dangerous wine expeditions from the car!) or perhaps you’re hosting an impromptu gathering with some friends and the rosé needs to be crisp and frosty, like now. No matter the scenario, sometimes you just need your wine chilled. And fast.
We’re teaching you how to chill wine fast with a few household items you probably have lying around.
What’s the ideal serving temperature for chilling wine?
The ideal serving temperature for a wine varies based on variety, style, and body. Sweet and sparkling wines should be served at 43 -45° F. Whites and rosés should be served at 45-50° F. Red wines should be served at 55-64° F.
Add an ice cube to your glass, then remove it
We’ve seen ice added to wine a thousand times, and while we could never fault or judge someone for putting ice in their wine, we’d like to propose an alternative.
Think about it – if you add ice to your glass and let it melt, you’ll dilute the wine and will no longer be tasting it as the winemaker intended. You may lose a little zing, the flavors may not taste quite the same, and the balance of the wine may be thrown off.
Instead of plunking in an ice cube and letting it dissolve completely, drop a normal sized ice cube into your wine, swirl it around with a spoon for about five seconds, and then remove it. You can thank us later.
Place your bottle in a salted ice bath and spin
If you’re looking for a fast way to chill wine, this is it. Known to wine drinkers near and far, this is the fastest method and will chill your wine bottle in 5 minutes flat!
Fill an ice bucket with ice, a cup or two of salt, and enough water to reach the neck of the wine bottle. Make sure you fully immerse the bottle in the water, or the first glass from the top of the bottle could be warm. If you’re worried about messing up the label, try the sommelier-proven trick of wrapping the bottle in plastic wrap.
Here’s the part that takes some energy and attention – once your wine bottle is submerged, continuously spin the bottle. Agitation is key.
Why does it work? First off, water is a good conductor of heat. Filling the ice bucket up with water creates more points of contact with the bottle.
Due to a concept called freezing-point depression, salt can lower the freezing point of water beyond 32°F while still remaining liquid. It’s the same idea behind tossing salt on our roads in the wintertime, but you can also use this scientific phenomenon to get your drink on.
Rotating or spinning helps push away the water that had been warmed by the room-temperature bottle, and it also redistributes the wine within the bottle so all parts are equally chilled. Happy spinning!
Place your bottle in a salted ice bath and let sit
If you’re busy running around the house, setting up decorations for the trendiest of wine nights, or you simply just aren’t the type of person to watch paint dry (we get it), you can also opt for submerging your wine bottle in salt and ice and letting it sit. While agitation will speed up the chilling process, you can still chill your wine in about 15 minutes without any added movement.
Chill your wine in the freezer
If you have some extra time before guests arrive, you can chill your wine in the freezer. This will take about 45 minutes to an hour. But there are some tricks you can implement to speed up the process! We recommend placing the bottle on its side rather than standing it straight up. The additional surface area exposure will chill the wine faster than if you left it upright!
Pour into a plastic baggie and place in freezer
Okay, this is one of the speediest methods out there, but it’s last on our list because of style points. Something about pouring a Bordeaux blend from France into a Ziploc baggie reminds us of our college days (and not in a cute, nostalgic way.)
If you’re really in a pinch and you’re looking to chill a single glass of wine for you, yourself, and I, this method could have some merit. Pour a single glass into a Ziploc bag and place it in the freezer. It will only take about 2 minutes to reach 50°F. Wild, right?
Keep in mind, we’re in no way recommending you serve guests via plastic bag. But sometimes, when your favorite show is on and you forgot to toss your wine in the fridge, a plastic baggie doesn’t seem all that bad.
In Vino Finito
Do you have any other tried-and-true tricks to chill wine fast? Let us know in the comments below!
For more wine wisdom, cocktail recipes, and summer sipping, make sure you subscribe to our newsletter, Glass Half Full.
When chilling in a freezer, wrap the bottle in a wet paper towel before placing it in the freezer.
You can also use a newspaper delivery bag in place of plastic wrap to protect the labels in water or from the wet paper towel. An old Wet Umbrella bag also works.
I keep blue berries in the freezer & drop them in to chill both red (just a bit) or white (longer period or more berries. They serve the function of chilling & are a nice finish. Unlike other berries, blueberries don’t fall apart, bruise or get mushy. There are also silver or alloy ball you can freeze and drop in w/not dilution. Just rinse & refreeze.
And for my taste, I like my reds to be lightly chilled…is that weird?
Sorry for the typos…I failed to proof before sending.