Ask the Wine Wise Guy: What Are Some Quick Ways to Chill a Bottle of Wine?

4 ways to lower the temperature fast, without diluting your drink.

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An appalling number of servers—at home and at restaurants—don't understand wine temperatures. They think reds should be served "room temperature," which is almost always too warm since our 72-degree homes are hotter than the 56 degree cellars that originally housed wines. And they think whites ought to be served ice cold straight out of the fridge, which is frequently so cold you can't taste any subtle flavors (even if it does go down "easy").

If you just need to get wines—white, red, and rosé—cool in a hurry and don't care so much about achieving temperature nirvana, do not stuff a bottle in the freezer for a few hours and do not add ice to the wine glass in the hopes that you can drink it faster than the cubes dilute the contents. Try instead one of these four cooling tricks.


I keep Rapid Ice Wine Cooler re-freezable sleeves in my freezer. They may look cheesy but they work efficiently, and if the bottle is already cool before you cover it, this doohickey will keep it cool for at least an hour.


Nothing works as well as a proper ice bath to power-chill any wine (or beer, for that matter). However, you need more than just ice to make this work; you need water, too. Fill an ice bucket up with ice, then halfway up with water, then drop bottles into the bath. If there's room for more water, add it. For big parties pull out the big bucket, like this one, or even a garbage pail or bath tub, and do the same.


If you're trying to chill Champagne super-fast, or building an ice bath for a long party, salt is the secret weapon. Depending on the size of the bucket or tub, Add a cup of salt (I use Kosher) for every gallon of water. Make a slurry in the bowl first, whisking the salt with warm water to dilute it. Then dump the ice on top and add cold water quickly. What's the difference between this and the proper bath above? When ice melts in water, it stays at 32°F until it melts away (and gets warmer). When ice meets salt, it melts so quickly at first it uses its own thermal energy to turn into water, but that water chills down much, much colder to, say, around 15°F.


When serving wine outside in summer, it doesn't matter how well you chill the wine; it heats up fast. I keep red and green grapes in my freezer and use them like ice cubes, except they don't add water to the wine like regular cubes. I explain how to do it, here.

—Follow Anthony Giglio on Twitter at @WineWiseGuy.

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