ask dr. vinny

Hello there! I'm Dr. Vinifera, or "Vinny" for short. Ask me your toughest wine questions, from the technical aspects of winemaking to the fine points of etiquette. I hope you find my answers educational and even amusing. Looking for a particular answer? Check my archive and my FAQs. You can also follow me on Twitter: @AskDrVinny.


Dear Dr. Vinny,

I have several bottles of red wine (Cabs, Zins and Pinots) that were nearly frozen. No bottle breakage, no corks popped. Is the wine still drinkable? It is a lot of wine to drink—am I still able to cellar the wine?

—Chris, California

Dear Chris,

I think your wines will be fine. Keep in mind that wine has to get really cold to actually freeze—down to about 15° to 20° F for an extended period.

The concern about freezing wine—and why you should never leave a bottle in a freezer unattended—is that if the bottle really gets that cold, the water content will expand as it freezes. There’s not much room in a sealed bottle for that expansion, so it can put pressure on the cork or even crack the bottle. You could end up with a mess in your freezer, or if the corks push out, that means some air could get inside the bottle.

Some of my colleagues actually freeze their leftover wine on purpose. I’ve tried the results, and the wines taste good—actually quite fresh for a leftover. I’ve done my own experiment with freezing a bottle of wine topped with a screwcap, and I’ve also done an “experiment” where I forgot a bottle of rosé with an apparent leaky cork in the freezer (it made a mess, and I don’t recommend it).

—Dr. Vinny


Do you have a question for Dr. Vinny? Ask it here...

Wine Basics

We break down the basics—how to taste, serve, store and more. Plus:
» Maps of major wine regions
» Grape variety characteristics

How-to Videos

Learn to taste wine like a pro, pull a cork with flair, get great wine service in a restaurant and more

Wine Spectator School: All courses are FREE for WineSpectator.com Members

Learn from the experts and get the most out of each sip. Take one of our online courses or take them all—from the ABCs of Tasting to in-depth seminars on Food Pairing, California Cabernet, Bordeaux, Tuscany, Sensory Evaluation and more.

Browse our course catalog
Check out the professional wine sales and service courses
Learn Wine Forum: Got questions? Get answers

MEMBER LOGIN

= members only

Keep me logged in      Forgot Password?

Free Email Newsletters

Sips & Tips | Wine & Healthy Living
Video Theater | Collecting & Auctions

» View samples
» Or sign up now!
» Manage my newsletter preferences

Classifieds

The marketplace for all your wine needs, including:

Wine Storage | Wine Clubs
Dining & Travel | Wine Auctions
Wine Shops | Wine Accessories