Should you put ice cubes in wine?

Nothing is more refreshing than a cool glass of wine when the weather heats up – but what if your wine isn’t chilled enough? Decanter experts give their view on reaching for the ice, and what alternatives are on offer...

ice-cubes-in-wine-Should you put ice cubes in wine? Credit: Simon Littlejohn / Alamy Stock Photo

Should you put ice cubes in wine?

It is commonly believed that putting ice cubes in your wine is a faux pas; watering down and diluting the flavours of the wine.

In Decanter’s ‘Confessions of a Sommelier’ series, putting ice cubes into white wine was often cited as the ‘most annoying customer habit’.

However, several wineries have released wines to be served with ice, including Moët Ice Impérial Rosé NV launched earlier this year.

In some Mediterranean countries, it is also becoming more common to be offered ice when served white or rosé wine on restaurant terraces.

Peter Richards MW said, ‘My take is: do whatever you want with your wine as long as it makes you happy! That’s what wine’s for, after all.

‘But, unless you’re drinking super-fast, the ice will melt and dilute the wine and it won’t taste as good.’

Alternative methods

Richards recommends putting a few grapes in your freezer instead, and then putting frozen grapes in your glass of wine.

‘If you pop these in your glass, it will chill the wine without diluting it.’

Decanter’s international tastings director, Christelle Guibert, said that she ‘is not a fan of putting ice cubes in wine’ whatever the circumstance.

‘There are many ways to cool down your wine very quickly, so no need to dilute the wine with water.’

Guibert recommends the Corkcicle wine chiller, which you keep in your freezer, then slot into your wine bottle when you’re ready and it cools the wine as it pours.

When chilling your wine in advance, Richards also said, ‘Don’t forget this applies to reds in warm weather too – stick them in the fridge for 20 mins before serving’.

Peter Richards MW is DWWA regional chair for Chile and Brazil. He is co-hosting Wine Festival Winchester in November.

Moët & Chandon, Ice Impérial Rosé, Champagne, France 

Launched in 2016, Moët's Ice Impérial Rosé is specifically designed to be poured over ice - cooling normal Champagne down so much can accentuate its high acidity and throw it out of balance. Tasted on its own, this is flat, flabby and quite sweet, but it completely transforms when poured over ice. Everything comes into balance, with ripe red fruit flavours jumping out unlike before, and there is a juicy strawberry and cream finish. A fun and intriguing Champagne for the summer months.

Moët & Chandon, Ice Impérial Rosé, Champagne, France