Wine is a delicate drink. You don’t want to just throw ice in it and call it a day. The effects of adding ice to wine are mixed, depending on what you plan on doing with the beverage afterward. Adding ice to wine may make it more refreshing on a hot day, but if you put the cold drink in the fridge, you risk diluting the alcohol and changing its taste.
Here’s what else you need to know before you pop that cork:
When is it appropriate to add ice to your wine?
You don’t need to add ice to wine all the time. Many people don’t even think to do it, but when it’s hot outside and you want to enjoy a refreshing drink, it’s not too much of a commitment. Most of the time, adding ice to a cold glass of wine will actually improve the flavor, not ruin it.
However, for a truly different experience, you can always take a few cubes of ice and chill your wine in a thermos. The resulting taste is much more intense than you’d get from just chilled liquid. (As you can imagine, this method is much more popular among wine professionals than the occasional consumer.) The best way to decide how much ice to add to your wine glass is to try it.
What is the effect of adding ice to wine?
The cooler temperature of the ice dilutes the alcohol in your wine, making it less powerful. If you don’t want to chill your glass of wine before drinking it, there’s an easy solution: Don’t add ice. That way, when you pop the cork, the wine should still be chilled and ready to go.
But, if you do want to add ice, keep the ice at least an inch tall so that it has a solid head when you put it in your glass. Is adding ice to wine bad for the wine? Nope. Adding ice to wine can sometimes lead to that glorious cloudy appearance that makes you excited to drink the rest of the bottle. This effect, sometimes called the “microscopic head,” is normal in wines that are fresh off the grapevine, and is a telltale sign that your wine is good to go.
When is it not recommended to add ice to wine?
When you really want your drink to be cold. Adding ice to wine can cause the wine to lose alcohol content and leave you with a cheap mimosa-like cocktail. What is the right temperature to add ice to wine? Since wine contains alcohol, you don’t want to leave it out too long.
A good guideline is between 30 minutes and an hour. Just make sure the wine doesn’t sit too long before you pour it. “If the wine sits out for more than an hour, it is going to get flat or moldy, and that’s no good,” says winemaker Ian Fojtasek. Do you have to use ice? You can use any container you have handy to add ice to your wine, whether it’s a box or a bowl or even a martini glass. However, you should be careful not to accidentally add ice too quickly.
The key takeaway here is that wine should never be served with ice. Always read the labels carefully, and if you know that the wine you’re drinking is mild enough to handle a small amount of ice, go ahead and put a few cubes in there. However, if you know that the wine is thick enough to withstand a small amount of ice, stick to the traditional serving method.