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Storing wine in the refrigerator is known to be better than just leaving it on the counter, but is it okay to freeze your boxed wine? If you bought your boxed wine on sale, you might have bought more than you need and want to freeze the excess until a later date. Or maybe you just want your boxed wine to last longer. Whatever the case may be, there are some general rules and do’s and don’ts to follow.
There isn’t much stopping you from freezing your boxed wine. It can be done. The quality of the wine may be decreased once it thaws back out, though, which is a risk. You can chill the wine in the freezer to get it up to optimum serving temperature, but it is much better to place boxed wine in a refrigerator than in a freezer.
Whether you left your boxed wine outside in a cold car and it froze, or you are wondering if you should freeze your wine purposefully, you should know the upsides and downsides of doing so.
If your wine is in a bottle, it is riskier because the bottle could crack, but boxed wine should be fine in the freezer. Once it has been frozen, you may be wondering how to properly thaw before serving, as well as how long it takes to freeze and thaw back out.
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Can You Freeze Boxed Wine?
Freezing boxed or bottled wine isn’t a popular thing to do with fresh wine. That said, storing extra wine in the freezer that is about to go bad, can then be used to cook with later on. Many people will pour the wine into ice trays to store in the freezer for cooking purposes.
This makes it that much easier to access the wine later, rather than keeping it in a plastic bag that could end up ripping and spilling wine all over your freezer.
If you bought too much-boxed wine at the store and you are wondering if it is okay to store the extra wine in the freezer to help it last longer, there are some mixed reviews where this is the case.
First things first, the type of boxed wine you have will also affect how well it will last in the freezer. Typically, boxed wine is good for up to three weeks in the refrigerator and will still last you at least a week and a half after being opened. This is because there is a vacuum seal to keep oxidation from happening within the bag.
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The quantity of wine in a box is equivalent to about four bottles of wine. These are not meant to be finished in one sitting like a bottle of wine is and unless you have a lot of people helping, doing so in one sitting wouldn’t be good for your health.
So regardless, your wine should be good for six days after opening. Another notable quality is that red wine usually keeps longer than white wine. This is because red wines are always produced with skins, while white wines usually are not.
The skins contain tannins, which help the wine stay fresh longer. Taking this into consideration, if you are going to freeze a box of wine, there are a few things to factor.
TIP: If you want to learn how long wine takes to freeze, check out this article I wrote. Likewise, check out this article to learn what to do if you leave a bottle of wine overnight in a freezing car.
Tips For Freezing Boxed Wine
We have all forgotten about a bottle of wine in the freezer before, and if it was sparkling wine, you probably came back to discover broken glass and wine covering your freezer. Boxed wine is a little easier to get away with purposefully freezing, though.
Boxed wine won’t go as bad as quickly as a wine that comes bottled, and there isn’t as much of a risk of exploding because the bag allows for some expansion to occur.
While freezing boxed wine to keep it fresh longer isn’t mandatory, because of how long it can last in the refrigerator before going bad, it can still be a decent option. It is important to remember to let the wine thaw out completely before drinking it, though.
There is a sweet spot for the optimal time to drink the boxed wine right after it has thawed completely and before it gets warm again. You will want to get your wine fluid again but keep it relatively cool before serving.
You can just move your wine from the freezer to the fridge if you have a day or so before you want to drink it, as it will take longer to thaw this way. However, if you want to thaw the wine quicker, you can leave it out on a counter for a few hours.
It is important to ensure the wine is thoroughly thawed before drinking because when the wine freezes, all the alcohol and other particles separate from each other. To make sure you are getting the best taste from your wine, it will take patience to wait for the entire bag to thaw out again.
That is also why it is easier just to leave it in the refrigerator, even if you don’t plan on drinking the bag for another week or two.
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How to Properly Chill Boxed Wine
If you are just trying to chill your wine in the freezer before serving, we need to cover some specifics that will make the process a lot smoother. For instance, wine freezes at a lower temperature than water because of the alcohol content.
It will still freeze, though, so it is important to keep an eye on it. Your standard kitchen or chest freezer is more than cold enough to freeze wine solid in a matter of hours. When the wine reaches 15 degrees Fahrenheit, that is when it will begin to freeze.
A good rule of thumb to follow is for lightly chilled wine, keep it in the freezer for 42 minutes. If you want fully chilled wine, leave it in the freezer for 55 minutes.
Another good tip is to take the bag out of the box and wrap it in a wet towel. If you do this, you will only need to leave it in the freezer for about 25 minutes for it to be completely chilled. Always remember to set a timer so you don’t forget about it and end up with wine in a solid state.
There are other ways to chill the wine if you have a little more time on your hands. Some of the other techniques include:
- If you have a larger bucket, fill it with ice and cold water. This will chill the bag down relatively quickly
- Freeze grapes and you can throw these in your glass. They serve as ice cubes to cool down your drink while also providing flavor
- If you are near a stream in relatively colder weather, you can submerge the bag in the water for a few minutes. This is great if you are camping and want some chilled boxed wine at the end of the day.
Although it is not mandatory to freeze your boxed wine to maintain longer shelf life, you may still find it necessary to do so now and then. If you want to use it for cooking or making wine coolers later on, then this is especially true.
Boxed wine has a longer shelf life than bottled wine as it is. It also won’t have a significant taste difference if you decide to freeze it, not normally, anyway.
Leaving your boxed wine in the freezer just to get it chilled is a perfectly viable option, especially if you are in somewhat of a hurry. You will be wise to remove the wine from the freezer before it freezes.
This is the best way to ensure its freshness, even after you’ve opened it, for up to ten days. That is, if you can even get it to last that long without drinking it.
Should You Freeze Boxed Wine?
I still go with no. Freezing boxed wine is a lot safer than bottled wine because you don’t have to worry about glass cracking. Generally speaking, wine responds much better to freezing than to heating.
Scientific studies performed by Pérez-Coello & colleagues (2003) and by Scrimgeour & colleagues( 2015) confirm that storing wine in warmer temperatures can negatively impact wine. That said, wine can be damaged and lessen in quality after it freezes and thaws.
I can see the value of freezing wine for use in cooking later on or if you bought a lot of wine in bulk. All-in-all, I don’t think you’ll experience anything bad by freezing your boxed wine but I would just recommend not doing it in general.
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Scientific Literature Referenced:
Pérez-Coello, M., González-Viñas, M., Garcı́a-Romero, E., Dı́az-Maroto, M., & Cabezudo, M. (2003). Influence of storage temperature on the volatile compounds of young white wines. Food Control, 14(5), 301-306. doi:10.1016/s0956-7135(02)00094-4 (via: ScienceDirect)
Scrimgeour, N., Nordestgaard, S., Lloyd, N., & Wilkes, E. (2015). Exploring the effect of elevated storage temperature on wine composition. Australian Journal of Grape and Wine Research, 21, 713-722. DOI:10.1111/ajgw.12196 (via Wiley)