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Freeze Your Pinot to Preserve It

There are many wine preservation systems and methods that slow or prevent oxygenation of wine, but the simplest way to keep opened bottles of wine is to put the cork tightly in the partially consumed bottle and put it in the freezer. When I tell people this, they look astounded and in disbelief. Trust me, you can freeze wine for several months and after defrosting, the wine will taste unchanged.

I first learned of this method of preserving opened bottles of wine several years ago when I read Marnie Old’s book, Wine Secrets: Advice from Winemakers, Sommeliers, and Connoisseurs. Master of Wine and Master Sommelier Ronn Wiegand wrote in the book a section titled, “How to Preserve Open Wine (Yes, You Can Freeze It).”

Wiegand pointed out that refrigeration, often used by the unknowing to preserve opened bottles of wine, can actually speed the decline of wine. Refrigeration slows the oxidation process but also renders oxygen more soluble. Vacuum devices do not work, and inert gases can only be relied upon for a few days or up to two to three weeks.

Freezing wine allows open wine to be kept for months or even years! Wiegand says, “I know it sounds ridiculous, but for more than thirty years, I’ve been freezing opened wine, with incredible results. The bottles must be upright and the cork must be clean. Young wines are most resilient and reds tend to last longer than whites.” It is important that some headroom is left in the bottle to allow for the wine’s expansion.

Defrosting a bottle can take several hours, but can be hastened by putting the bottle (sans capsule) in the microwave for a few moments.

Here is a recent example. I reviewed the 2015 AldenAlli Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir in April 2018. My wife put the bottle in the freezer after I had finished my critique (94 score by the way). The bottle was hidden and we forgot about it. I pulled it out in early September after five months and it tasted exactly the same or even better compared to last April.

Frozen Pinot Noir can also be used to make great popsicles and slushies.

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