The Fastest Way to Chill Champagne and Other Sparkling Wines

Because no one should drink warm sparkling wine.

Close up of friends clinking champagne glasses while enjoying Christmas dinner together sitting by elegant dining table with candles

Getting the temperature right is instrumental to enjoying wine at its most delicious. Sparkling wines like Champagne, cava, prosecco, and other bubbly varieties are traditionally served chilled. Chilling your bottle to a nice cold temperature can maximize its refreshing quality and make it safer to open (usually, renegade corks, explosions of foam, or sabrage gone wrong result from a too-warm bottle).

The Right Temperature for Champagne and Sparkling Wines

Most quality Champagnes and sparkling wines taste best when chilled to 43 to 48 degrees Fahrenheit. This is a little bit warmer than the typical temperature of your refrigerator, which is 36 to 37 degrees (or a bucket of ice water, for that matter, at 32 degrees). Suppose you've had the foresight to chill a bottle of Champagne in your fridge overnight. In that case, we recommend placing it on your counter for 15 to 20 minutes before pouring it to allow the temperature to warm a bit.

When starting with a room-temperature bottle, you can refrigerate it for three hours. And once you achieve the right temperature, make sure to hold the glass by the stem to prevent the heat from your hands from warming up the wine!

Warmer or Cooler

Also, remember that not all bubbles are created equal, and sparkling wine is a pretty diverse category. Depending on the style of Champagne, sipping it colder or warmer than the range mentioned above can be recommended. Richer, more opulent, and fuller-bodied styles like many vintage Champagnes, blanc de noirs (made from red grapes only), or even rosé Champagne will taste more lush and dimensional at around 50-55 degrees. And because aggressively chilling sparkling wines to a frigid temperature can mute their flavors and aromas, if you ever find yourself with a very low-quality bottle that you know doesn't taste great, then, by all means, keep it on ice! The deep chill will make it much more palatable.

The Best Way to Chill Champagne Quickly

If you need to quick-chill your Champagne on the fly, the most efficient and quickest method is to submerge the bottle in an ice-water bath. The combination of equal parts ice and water will bring the ambient temperature of the bath to freezing (which using ice alone will not achieve) and your sparkling wine will be chilled in about 15 minutes.

If you want to supercharge your ice water bath, adding a generous palm full of kosher salt will drop the temperature even faster (because salt lowers the freezing point of water).

For an even chilling, make sure the bottle is completely submerged. If you don't have a large enough ice bucket, your kitchen sink or even a large stock pot will work.

Note: The times we give for chilling Champagne are approximate. Much depends on the starting temperature of the wine. Some people may have sparkling wine that was stored in a cool place in their house but is not chilled to the correct drinking temperature. Others may have a bottle that was on top of their refrigerator—not a cool spot or a good place to store wine and this would take longer to chill. If you are unsure of the temperature of the wine, check it using a kitchen thermometer.

Other Methods That Work

An ice-water bath is the most efficient way to quick-chill Champagne or other sparkling wine, but we've included some alternative methods in case you don't have enough ice or a suitable receptacle for the ice-water bath.

Wet Tea Towel-Freezer Method

If an ice water bath isn't possible, wrap the bottle in a wet tea towel before placing it in the freezer for about 30 minutes. The wet tea towel will help chill it quicker than just placing the bottle in the freezer which takes about 45 minutes.

We aren't big fans of chilling Champagne in the freezer for several reasons, but prefer this method when combined with the wet tea towel. (Note that the freezer is not the best place to chill a pricey bottle.) Freezer temps fluctuate every time you open the door, and it's easy to forget a bottle in the freezer, which doesn't end well—frozen sparkling wine is not good sparkling wine.

Putting Glasses in the Freezer

If you're looking to chill just a toast and not the whole bottle quickly, pour the Champagne into glasses and place those in the freezer for about 10 minutes; the lower volume of liquid and the thinner walls of the glass (as opposed to a thick glass bottle) will chill faster.

Use Chilling Spheres or Wands

Finally, chilling spheres or chilling wands are devices that, when stored in your freezer, can be inserted into a glass to chill the liquid quickly. Using them is preferable to adding ice cubes to glasses of bubbly as they won't melt or water down the wine. Add them to the glasses of Champagne and wait a few minutes to allow them to cool the wine before you drink.

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