Woman pouring white wine into a glass
How to Chill a Bottle of Wine Lickety Split

A last minute get together, a sudden craving, or complete party prep oversight… We’ve all had moments when we need a cold bottle, and fast. 

Thankfully, there are several effective tricks depending on just how fast you *need* it, and what tools you have at your disposal. We’ve researched methods that experts swear by, then put them to our own tests. Here are the top ways to chill down a bottle of wine.

The Fastest

If you’ve ever lived where it snows, you probably know that road crews use salt during snow storms. Salt lowers the freezing temperature of water, keeping it from turning to ice on the roadways. So guess what happens when you add a bunch of salt to ice water? It lowers the freezing temperature, allowing the ice bath to get colder than it would without the salt. Stick a bottle of wine in that bucket, and you’re on your way to a cold glass of white faster than any other method.

According to Serious Eats, if you agitate the bottle in the salted ice water, it will cool down even faster. In about 5 minutes you can have your bottle at serving temp, or without swirling the bottle around, you’ll still have your results in about 10 minutes.

This method is great, as long as you have a bunch of salt that you can part with. You’ll need a large bucket or bowl, a pound or so of ice, a little cold water, and a cup of salt. Stir to dissolve the salt, and pop in your bottle, making sure it is submerged up to the neck.

If you don’t have that much salt to spare, try…

Three sparkling wine bottles in ice in a glass chilling bucket

Fast

Same instructions as above, but without the salt. Using ice water will chill your bottle very fast, but it will take about twice as long as it would if you added salt. Still, a cold bottle in under a half hour isn’t bad. 

Decently Fast

No ice handy? Your next best bet is to pop the bottle in the freezer on its side, preferably in contact with something already frozen in your freezer. A bag of frozen vegetables, a soft ice pack… thermal conduction will help it chill faster than if only exposed to the cold air. I will say this is not my favorite method, as there have been an occasion or two when I’ve been distracted and forgotten that I’ve put a bottle in the freezer (a total mess!). Most likely, you’re focused on getting that bottle cold, opened and served, so that shouldn’t be a problem. Still, setting a timer isn’t a bad idea. You should have a cold glass within 40 minutes. 

Simple, But Don’t Go There

Then, there’s the cheap shot that we probably have all taken out of desperation. I’m here to tell you that though it might be easy, don’t float ice cubes in your glass. Unfortunately, this is a terrible option as the once frozen ice will quickly melt into the wine, diluting its flavors. Instead, go with Fastest, Fast or Decently Fast, depending on the tools you have at the ready. 

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