Why You Should Never Put Wine In The Freezer

It's been a hectic day but you're home now, and that bottle of wine is chilling in the freezer. But because life happens, a day has passed before you even remembered where it was, and what was once a happy bottle is now a forlorn, frozen mess, with slushy wine in a little pool in your freezer. The question is: can it live to be enjoyed at another time, or do you declare the bottle a lost cause?

Vinepair says wine may be happy when it's chilled, but will literally bust its top when it's frozen — and it doesn't matter if the wine is topped with a cork or a metal screwtop. Frozen wine can burst through its top and lose the flavor it was meant to have, and when Vinepair tested the frozen wine scenario, they found a slushie that not only tasted more bitter, it was also more watery than its chilled counterpart. Worse, if wine sits in the freezer for a considerable amount of time, Vinepair says it just gets freezer burn and becomes oxidized.

Does defrosted wine need to be thrown out?

Wine Spectator's Dr. Vinifera, aka Dr. Vinny, says if you decide to press on and drink the frozen wine, you may see what looks like shards of glass or crystals, and if your bottle is intact, you could be looking at tartaric acid crystals, which can also appear when your wine is colder than it is meant to be served (via Vinepair). Wine experts say these crystals are nothing to be worried about, so all you should be concerned about is the flavor, which will have changed.

There are exceptions to the rule, though. The Spruce Eats reckons there's nothing wrong with storing wine in the freezer, but after the bottle has been opened, and not before. If you really want to give defrosted wine a shot, transfer the leftover wine into a freezer container, or keep the cork off, stick the unopened bottle in, then replace the cork after the wine is frozen. But The Spruce Eats also says you should drink the wine as soon as it's been thawed. If the flavor has changed too much for your liking, the site recommends cooking with it, instead of drinking it.