What Happens If You Microwave Red Wine?

If there is one gadget that we think a professional chef is disinclined to admit in his kitchen, it's a microwave. When people spot microwaves, they fear that things have been made ahead of time and put in a freezer before being reheated and served. Yet, microwave ovens can be useful for a variety of reasons, as chefs tell Food and Wine

Edgar Beas admits to using a microwave to heat blinis, which are used to serve caviar. Bruce Moffett likes cooking spinach in a microwave because leaves don't give up much water. Judy Joo reveals the microwave is perfect for softening both chocolate and hardened brown sugar. Of course, it's perfect for plenty of other things. Some sommeliers reveal another reason to keep a microwave oven within reach at a high-end restaurant — to make sure red wine arrives at the table at the temperature that it is meant to be enjoyed. 

Microwaving your wine can bring it from cold to chill quickly

Science supports the notion that wines can be microwaved — at least for a short time — without causing any grief. Christian E. Butzke, who studies wine and winemaking, told The New York Times that when the wine is nuked, "microwaves are heating the water, which is the main constituent of wine. So if you do that for a very brief period — 10 seconds maximum — no other chemical reactions are going to take place, and nothing will be destroyed.” But he also acknowledged that the thought of putting wine in a microwave was "awkward because you associate a microwave with TV dinners."

That aside, we all need to come to terms with certain truths: that, when opened, wine degrades fairly quickly, and the only way to keep that from happening is to put your half-full bottle in the refrigerator. And the only way to bring a red back to its glory is to give it a quick, short, 10 to 15 second burst in a microwave. Wine Lovers Page also recommends decanting the wine in a heat-resistant cup — and being careful not to cook the wine because the only thing that's worse than a red that is fridge cold is one that is boiling hot.