How To Keep Your Wine Cold

Jun 16, 2011 3:31 pm

Your FAQ's and our advice on ice in your wine

bottles on ice
Photo: gordonflood.com on Flickr
Keeping things chilled
 

With temperatures on the rise and already hitting the hundreds in parts of our nation, concerns on how to serve, store, and enjoy wine are heating up. Here're a few FAQ's and Food Republic's trusty answers to help you drink happy this summer.

When I'm bringing a bottle of wine to party, do I bring it chilled?
If the host asked you to bring a specific bottle that they are planning on serving and the wine is either a white, rosé, or a sparkling wine, bring it cold. If you are bringing a bottle as a gift that is either white, rosé, or sparkling, bring it room temp. If you bring it chilled it seems like you are assuming you'll be getting to drink it and if it's meant to be a gift that's just tacky.

I'm having a party outdoors, and it's hot, really hot.  Do I chill all of the wines? reds and whites?
Typically only white, rosé, and sparkling wines should be served cold. So be sure to have them on ice. This goes for any time you are serving them: winter, summer, whenever. And chill them before your guests arrive. Either 2 to 3 hours in the refrigerator or a half hour in the freezer (just don't forget them in the freezer, because unlike vodka, wine freezes). Reds that can take a chill are usually the light bodied ones: Beaujolais, Gamay, and some Pinot Noir. And we mean a chill — not chilled like your whites. So these can go in and out of an ice bucket if they are in the sweltering heat, but no need to keep them on ice all day. You just don't want to serve or sip warm red wine.

When I use ice buckets I can't seem to put the bottles back in, and I notice my guests struggling too. What's the trick?
The key to a user-friendly ice bucket is water. Put half ice and half water in your bucket, and only fill half way. This creates space for the bottle to move in and out easily. Also submerging a bottle in ice water will actually cool it faster than just ice. We don't know the science, we just know it works. Just be sure to not ever jam a bottle into an ice bucket, as they can shatter. And if you are going the ice and water route be sure to keep a cloth napkin nearby for wiping the wet bottles off before pouring. 

Also remember to tend to your ice buckets, especially when the temps are rising. The ice will melt and create a pool. You don't want opened bottles floating on their side and potentially mixing your ice water with the remaining wine in the bottle. It's a pain, especially when you're entertaining, so assign the task to a helpful friend — you know, the one who keeps asking, "Is there anything I can do to help?"

I like my wine very cold and sometimes I put an ice cube in it. Is this totally wrong?

If ice in your glass makes you a happy drinker we're all for it. Just know you do this at the risk of watering down your wine. We don't recommend it but we also don't recommend drinking hot wine, so use your brain and choose the lesser of two evils.  

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