What Happens If You Overchill Wine?

It probably goes without saying but, when you buy a bottle of wine, you shouldn't store it in your freezer. You likely already know this, but why is it wrong? It has less to do with wine snobs having a vested interest in how you manage your kitchen space and more to do with the wine's temperature.

How cold a wine is has an outsized impact on how it tastes. It's the reason why we tend to serve white wines chilled and red wines at room temperature. Of course, the exact temperature a wine should be served at depends on the specific variety of wine, not just whether it's red or white. These days, you can often find the serving temperature displayed on the wine's label.

Let's focus on white wines since those are more often served chilled. If you overchill a white wine, past its ideal serving temperature, you aren't damaging the wine itself but the flavors are going to be muted because of it. If you're spending the money on a nice bottle of GrĂ¼ner Veltliner but you serve it too cold, you're taking a good wine and needlessly reducing the quality of its flavor. Cold wine is especially damaging to the nose, meaning all the aromas you take in as you drink. If you smell nothing, the wine is going to come across as bland and uninteresting.

Keep it chill

If you're in a rush and you've just run out to buy a bottle of wine for a party or a dinner and you need to chill it fast, popping it in the freezer for a few minutes can work in a pinch. But don't forget it's in there. Wine will freeze if you leave it in the freezer. Apart from needing to thaw it out when you want to drink it, frozen wine expands and you run the risk of your wine bottle exploding. This is especially true for sparkling wines like prosecco. Never place sparkling wine in the freezer or you will have a serious mess to clean up when the bottle pops.

If you want to get really fancy, there are wine thermometers you can place around the bottle to give you the exact temperature of what's inside. That's great, but a little niche for most casual wine drinkers. There are also wine coolers which are better than your fridge since most wine shouldn't be served at the same temperature that you keep your fridge at. You aren't trying to keep your wine from spoiling, you just want it to be a touch cold. For most people, the fridge will work just fine, though. If you're concerned about the wine being too cold after being in the fridge, simply take it out a few minutes before serving to allow it to warm up to the desired temperature.