If you are a keen host of dinner parties and soirées, you will likely have encountered the extremely frustrating situation of forgetting to chill your wine. Luckily, there are a few methods you can try to accelerate the wine cooling process when you have no time to spare and regular refrigeration is not an option. Let’s take a look at some of the methods that are scientifically proven to chill your wine bottles in less than an hour.
Submerge the wine bottle in ice water
One of the most fool-proof methods of quickly cooling wine is to submerge the bottle in a bucket or container of ice water. Compared to air, water is the most efficient thermal conductor and can chill wine at about 25 times the rate of air. In order for this to work properly, you will need to ensure that the bottle is fully immersed in the water. If the bucket is only filled halfway with ice, the wine will become extremely cold at the bottom, and warm at the top. This means that the first glass of wine poured from the bottle will be warm. With this method, your wine will be fully chilled within 15-20 minutes. You can actually enhance the cooling process further by adding in a handful of salt to the ice water. This will work to lower the freezing point of the water and hence, its overall temperature.
Position your wine bottle horizontally rather than vertically in your fridge or freezer
One method that will have a significant impact on the speed in which your wine cools, is to position the bottle horizontally, rather than vertically in the fridge or freezer. Whilst this may not be the most ‘immediate’ method, it has been scientifically proven that positioning your bottles horizontally, will cause them to cool 50% faster than they would do if positioned upright. Keeping your wine horizontally will also prevent air from getting in and spoiling your wine. This will also keep the cork nice and moist which means it will not dry out and crumble into the wine.
Remove the wine from its bottle, seal it in a Ziploc bag and then chill it
One of the main reasons that wine takes so long is due to the glass bottle in which it lives. Glass is one of the worst thermo-conductors out there. This due to its lack of ordered crystal structure and the fact that is doesn’t allow for easy transmission of electrons between atoms. The glass bottle also accounts for 40% of the wine’s weight which is why it takes so long to cool down in the fridge. A solution to this would be to remove the wine from its bottle before chilling. A great way of doing this is by pouring the wine into a Ziploc bag, sealing it and placing that bag in ice water. The thin plastic will allow the cold temperature to reach the wine a lot faster than it would if protected by glass. You can also pour the wine into wine glasses, cover the glasses with cling film and place in the fridge. This will allow the wine to cool in around 30 minutes, which is a lot quicker than it would do in its original glass bottle.
Drop frozen objects into your wine glass
One of the quickest ways to cool room-temperature wine is to place frozen objects such as fruit or metal ice cubes into the glass. These objects will function just like ice cubes but will not water down your wine. Whilst you can use frozen grapes, frozen raspberries or strawberries will also add a subtle sweetness to your wine, which would be perfect when it comes to serving roses such as zinfandel. Whilst this method is guaranteed to work, it does require an element of preparation and investment meaning it is not as ‘instant’ as some of the other methods. You will need to have bought the metal cubes beforehand, or previously placed the fruit in your freezer. The objects will also take around 2-3 hours to chill which is longer than it would take to actually chill the bottle itself.
Wrap the bottle in a damp towel and place it in the freezer
Another way to quickly cool down a bottle of wine is to wrap it in a wet towel and place it in the freezer. By wrapping it in wet material, the cooling will be sped up through water evaporation (similarly to how sweating enables humans to cool down). The damp towel will freeze quickly and allow the wine to chill in half the time it normally would. The only problem is, in order for this method to work, your freezer will need to be relatively empty to allow for sufficient air circulation. If your freezer is full to the brim with different food products, the towel may actually work to insulate the bottle as the air will be stagnant. Because of this, the damp towel method will only be suitable for those who own a large, commercial blast freezer. If you don’t, you may want to give this one a miss.
Use a Corkcicle
Corkcicles are essentially ‘icicles’ that are made of BPA-free plastic and filled with reusable freeze gel. They are designed to be placed in the freezer for 2 hours and then inserted into a wine bottle to maintain the cool temperature. Corkcicles are extremely useful cork replacements that will not only work to cool down your wine but keep it that way for the duration of a dinner party. You also do not even have to remove the Corkcicle when pouring the wine as it comes with a built-in spout. This is obviously a method that requires some level of forethought but if you are a wine enthusiast, it is an investment that could make your life a lot easier.
Looking for more? Take a look at these related posts:
- Is A Wine Cooler Worth The Money?
- Why Is My Wine Cooler Beeping?
- How To Serve Wine
- Freestanding Versus Built In Wine Coolers