Baby, It’s Cold Outside: Protecting Your Wine from Chilly Temperatures

Heat is often regarded as the greatest threat to the integrity and quality of your wine collection. While it is certainly true that great care must be taken to ensure your wine is protected and preserved when the temperature rises, there is also a case for keeping an eye on your wine in chillier climates.

While the cold is nowhere near as dangerous as the heat when it comes to wine preservation, subjecting your collection to lower-than-ideal temperatures could potentially have a detrimental effect.

As our weather begins to morph into the start of a new winter, there has never been a better time than now to be aware of the impact that excess cold can have on your wine collection.


Can the cold ruin your wine?

The answer to this question is both yes and no.

Chilly temperatures can impact wine if it is exposed to the cold for extended periods of time. If the temperature reaches Arctic levels, that’s when potential damage can occur. 

The wine will expand as it freezes, putting pressure on both the cork and the bottle. In rare cases this can cause the bottle to completely crack, but the more common signs to look out for are sticky wine stains around the capsule, which indicates leakage from the cork.

However, leaving a bottle of wine in the car over a particularly brisk night is unlikely to drastically impact its notes, flavour and body. Gradual cooling won’t pose a risk to the integrity of your wine – it’s the sudden fluctuations in temperature that have a greater impact on your collection.


I’ve accidentally frozen a bottle of wine. How can I fix it?

We’re all for a chilled glass of wine, but not that chilled. If you’ve accidentally cooled your wine to its freezing point, the only way to fix it is by thawing it back to room temperature.

However, thawing isn’t a complete fix, as this process can actually have a considerable impact upon the restoration of your wine. You need to thaw the wine carefully to ensure it doesn’t heat up too much, as we all know excess warmth is the killer of quality wine.

To avoid oxidisation, let your wine rest at room temperature for up to three hours (less if the inside temperature has been warmed by artificial heat). Once completely thawed, make sure it is promptly returned to the safety of your wine fridge. Do this and you’ll find that your once frozen will likely retain its original notes, flavour and body.


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