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,
You mentioned that putting Champagne in a freezer is a no-no. Is this also true of non-carbonated white wines? I have heard this many times but am not clear on the reasoning. Is it for fear of an exploding bottle, or is this "shock chilling" not good for the wine itself?
—Joe, New York
First off, the safest (and fastest, I swear) method of chilling wine is to put it in a bucket of water and ice. It only takes 20 or 30 minutes, and it works like a charm.
I've left bottles of still wine in the freezer only to come back and find them leaking a sticky mess. I believe the scientific explanation is that wine is mostly water, which has a freezing point of 32° F, but the alcohol prevents it from freezing entirely. Still, if you leave your bottle of wine in the freezer long enough, the water will begin to crystallize and expand. And since there's not a lot of room in there for the water to expand, it might leak out through the cork.
Do you have a question for Dr. Vinny? Ask it here...
Learn to taste wine like a pro, pull a cork with flair, get great wine service in a restaurant and more
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.
Sips & Tips | Wine & Healthy Living
Video Theater | Collecting & Auctions