Food & Recipes

Stop Putting Ice In Your Wine—You’re Ruining It!

This is the correct temperature for wine.

I will freely admit that wine is on my list of necessities — right up there with water and yoga. Red, white, sparkling — I’ll take it all. I’ll definitely drink that $40 bottle of wine, but I am also not opposed to the $5 one on the clearance shelf. I’ll even take it warm in an emergency.

I will not, however, drink wine with ice. Let me explain.

While I am far from a wine snob — obviously — I live in a state with some amazing wineries and in a city known for its wine. The wine made in Traverse City, Michigan, gets sent all over the state and you can get a bottle at the local grocery store for under $10. While I might not know enough about wine to be willing to spend $50 on a bottle, living in a state with a city directly on the 45th parallel — the same distance from the equator as famous wine-making regions like France and Italy — means you have to at least know a little. It’s actually a state law.

vineyard wine photo

OK, it’s not a law, but it is totally science and therefore true. Probably.

While I am in love with my state’s fabulous wines and not ashamed that they cost $10 or less, sampling the wines over the years has made me become particular about how I drink them. While you’ll find a slew of wine lovers, like the one-and-only Martha Stewart, who think it’s totally cool to have ice in your wine (pun definitely intended), I’m a firm believer that even just one ice cube will ruin a perfectly good glass of vino.

It’s Simple Science

Back to that whole science thing, when the ice melts, it will, of course, change the flavor, just like anything when you add water to it. Winemakers obviously take a lot of care to produce wines that have a very specific taste and feel. So, when you add water to it in the form of melted ice cubes, you’re really altering their “recipe.” It’s kind of like adding an extra cup of milk to a cake recipe and expecting it to taste the same.

“Putting ice cubes in a well made, balanced wine just to cool it down is lazy,” wine expert Ruth Spivey told The Independent.

While the experts at my favorite winery in Traverse City, Chateau Grand Traverse, take the “Hey, it’s your wine” approach to the topic, they agree it will certainly dilute the flavor. The exception would be, obviously, if you drink the wine before the ice has time to dilute it. If you needed a glass quickly enough to throw ice in it in the first place, chances are, you might chug it before the ice even starts to melt!

Adobe

I believe, however, that wine is meant to be sipped, truly tasted and enjoyed — not just gulped up because you’re thirsty (or really needed that glass of wine). If you’re sipping your chardonnay and have ice hitting your teeth, it simply takes away from the experience.

To be fair, I am not a fan of ice in anything — unless I have a straw — and I draw the line at drinking my $10 wine through a straw. I have to have some class, you guys.

Quick Cooling Tricks That Won’t Ruin Your Wine

If you’re not willing to drink your wine at room temperature, I’ve learned a few tricks in my travels to Traverse City and from my wine-loving friends. First, if you’re in desperate need of a bottle of wine getting cold fast, simply wet a paper towel with water, wrap it around the bottle and throw it in the freezer. It will get cold quickly and you’ll know it’s ready when the paper towel is stiff. Just don’t forget about it or you might have a messy wine explosion in your freezer.

If you have time to prepare, lay some grapes out on parchment paper and throw them in your freezer. If you need to cool down a glass of wine that’s starting to get warm, pop a few frozen grapes in there and voila — you have a refreshing drink that isn’t watered down. If you still want ice cubes in your wine, try making them out of the wine you’ll be putting them in. That way, when the ice melts, you just get more wine!

U.S. Surpasses France To Lead The World In Wine Consumption
Getty Images | Joe Raedle

What Is The Right Temperature For Wine?

To drop some more science on you, according to VinePair, wine isn’t even supposed to be ice-cold in the first place. They say the flavors and aromas that make us love wine “shut down” when it’s too cold. “Too cold,” in this instance, means super cold — like leaving the bottle in an ice bath the whole time you’re drinking it. They actually suggest removing the bottle from the ice bath and letting it sit for 15 minutes before drinking.

Ice or no ice — maybe we’re all wrong and should stop drinking wine super cold in the first place!

Some wines, however, are meant to be chilled, while others should be served warmer. Chardonnay and a crisp Riesling are meant to be served colder, while others like a semi-dry Riesling or pinot grigio are meant to be warmer. According to Wine Folly, the ideal temperature for red wine is 62 to 68 degrees, while white wine should be served at is 49 to 55 degrees. That depends, of course, on the exact wine. But, odds are you may find yourself craving ice in your white more than your red without even realizing why!

via GIPHY

Do you disagree and actually prefer your wine with ice? Have at it! At the end of the day, wine is meant to make you happy and if adding ice to yours does it for you, then drink up, friends! Just don’t bring any of that watered-down whatever-you-call-it near me.