The Water Hack That Chills Wine Faster Than You Can Drink It

There's something undeniably refreshing about sipping on a well-chilled glass of your favorite white or sparkling wine or a flute of bubbly champagne, especially during the summer when the sun seems to beat down relentlessly. It not only cools you down but also elevates the overall dining experience, provided the temperature of your wine is just right. Chilled wine is a delight for the senses — the flavors are crisper, the aromas are more pronounced and the frosty sips are a lot fresher.

Whether you are eating out in a restaurant or hosting your friends at home, an ice bucket is the most trusted technique to keep wine cool. The ice cubes rapidly absorb the heat from the wine, lowering its temperature and ensuring it's served perfectly chilled. While it may seem the ideal way to chill wine fast, the truth is it is not — at least ice on its own is not. You would have noticed that the bucket layered with ice can hardly hold more than one bottle, let alone have room for a bottle to be nestled deep in the ice bed. Instead, you'll probably see a bottle of wine just sitting on top of the ice, which isn't very effective at all and will probably leave you with wine straight from the ice bucket that doesn't feel very chilled at all.

Adding water to your ice bucket is the answer

This trick couldn't be simpler — just add water to your ice bucket to give your wine bottles a nice ice-water bath. Why? Water is excellent at conducting heat, much more so than air. While a bucket of ice contains a ton of air between all the cubes, by adding water to your ice bucket you create a slushy mixture, that can fully encase your wine bottle. This means the entire wine bottle is in contact with the cold surface uniformly. Because water conducts heat so efficiently, it helps transfer the warmth from the wine to the ice-water mixture at a much quicker pace, which means your wine gets cold faster.

Murphy Perng, a Certified Wine Consultant explained to WikiHow that chilling the wine in a bucket full of equal parts water and ice will lower the temperature of the bottle more swiftly than in a bucket filled with ice alone. But make sure to submerge the bottles properly in the ice-water mixture up to the neck of the bottle. She says that using this method your wine should come out perfectly chilled in not more than 15 minutes.

A pinch of advice

To speed up the wine-chilling process even more, add a bit of salt to the ice water. Salt reduces the freezing point of water, helping water to come down to freezing temperature without actually freezing it. Salt can also refreeze the melting ice, maintaining the ice-cold water for the long hours you'll need to chill one bottle after another.

In a regular-sized ice bucket, throw in a few tablespoons of salt and give it a light swirl to let the salt dissolve. Voila! The ice-water bath is ready for your wine. You'll see how white wine turns up chilled in about 5–10 minutes, whereas red wine which does not need to be served as cold will take about half the time. Sparkling wine and sweet wine may take about 10–15 minutes since they should be served at the coldest temperature, but it's always worth the wait.

Now you know what to do when you have warm or room-temperature wine but not much time to chill it. A simple salted, ice-water bath is your best bet. From there, pour the chilled wine into the chilled glass and just chill!