Is it OK to drink wine after it freezes?

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Dear Dr. Vinny,

Is it OK to drink wine after it freezes?

—Eileen W., Rockland, Calif.

Dear Eileen,

Yes, I know folks who store leftover wine in the freezer, and I’ve done some experimenting myself, and it tastes perfectly fine after defrosting.

The thing to remember is to not put a sealed bottle of wine in your freezer. I’ve forgotten—I mean, experimented—with this, and the results are not good. As wine freezes, the water content expands, and it can leak out, especially if there’s a cork.

Keep in mind that after you defrost a wine, you might see something unexpected—what looks like crystals or shards of glass. Those are tartaric crystals, and they are perfectly natural and harmless. Many wines go through a process called “cold stabilization” which removes these crystals for cosmetic reasons. Cold stabilization typically takes place at about 30° F to 32° F for a few days, but if you’re sticking your wine in the freezer, you might find yourself cold stabilizing the wine yourself.

—Dr. Vinny

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