Need to chill your wine, beer or bottled drinks quickly before your guests arrive? It’s a common party conundrum: guests have arrived and you didn’t put the beer or wine in the fridge earlier so you’re stuck with lukewarm bottles. Or maybe your friends were in charge of the beverages and just picked them up from the store. No one likes having to add ice cubes to their wine so we’ve broken down the most popular methods of chilling wine and beer.

What temperature should I serve wine and beer?

Wine aficionados often utilize a deeply detailed temperature chart for storing and serving wine. This interactive wine temperature chart  advises that each varietal of wine be served as a different temperature. In general, white table wines (Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc) is general served at about 45 – 58 degrees Fahrenheit, stronger red wines (Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot) can be served between 60 – 65 degrees Fahrenheit. For beer, a Pilsner or Hefeweizen is usually served at about 40 – 45 degrees Fahrenheit, IPAs or Porters can be served around 45 – 50 degrees Fahrenheit (see this page for more types of beers). When hosting a party, you’ll probably care less about the exact temperature and care more about just serving your beverages at an approximately cool temperature.

The wine used in our video was a Pinot Grigio. According to the experts, this type of wine should be served at 52′ Fahrenheit. If a room temperature bottle of wine is placed in a refrigerator, it will take about 2 hours for that bottle to reach a temperature of about 50′ Fahrenheit.

Factors that can increase the temperature of wine and beer

Remember that even chilled wine or beer can quickly become warmed up by external factors such as a warm room, a glass right out of the dishwasher or by someone holding the glass (and not the stem of the glass). According to Nuvo Vino, “Wine will always be moving toward ambient temperature usually at a rate of 4-5 °F per hour. Of course when a wine is poured into a glass, the glass will transfer heat into the wine. This causes an instant increase in wine temperature of at least 2 °F.”

Should I just add ice or chill my glasses?

Adding ice to wine and beer is generally taboo. If you’re serving a formal dinner, or serving fine wine, do not add anything to the glass that will help cool it down. If you are hosting a casual party and it’s quite hot outside, try adding frozen grapes as an ice substitute.

Chilling the glass is also generally frowned upon. Refrigerators are usually kept at 35 – 40 degrees Fahrenheit, too cold for most wines and the coldness of the glass may affect the ability to taste the wine. Likewise, most industry experts agree that beer should not be served in a frosty mug. The extreme cold temperature can numb the taste buds and “blind” the taste experience.

4 ways to chill a bottle of wine or beer

1. Ice bucket + ice

Chilling bottles inside a metal bucket filled with ice is the traditional method of lowering the beverage temperature. It works best if you place the bottles in the bucket first, then add the ice.


2. Ice bucket + ice + water

Ice-cold water tends to chill bottles faster. Once you’ve added your bottles to the bucket and added ice, pour in enough water to make an ice bath.


3. Ice bucket + ice + water + salt

Salt is a traditional way of melting ice and by adding salt to icy water, the temperature of the water actually becomes colder due to transference of heat. Once you’ve added regular water to your bucket of ice, dissolve about a 1/2 to 1 cup of rock salt (or table salt) in warm water, and then add this to your bucket.


4. Wet towel over the bottle in freezer

You might be tempted to throw your bottles into the freezer for a quick cool-down. This method works well however, do not leave bottles inside the freezer for too long (they can uncork and leak all over the freezer). If this is your desired cooling method, you can speed up the process by wetting a towel (either a dishcloth or paper towel) then wrapping it around the bottle before placing it in the freezer. 10 – 15 minutes should cool the bottle enough for drinking.