Go Ahead. Put Ice Cubes in Your Wine.

ice cubes in wineRules have a way of escaping the context in which they have a point. They become rigid as their champions ignore the need for contextual judgment.

So it is with the rule that you should never put ice cubes in your wine. Esther Mobley had a nice discussion of this in her newsletter and I heartily concur.

It’s been in the mid 90’s the past week and I don’t have room in my refrigerator or wine cellar for the cheaper red wines I drink daily. Drinking a Cab or Syrah that’s been sitting in that heat all day, even if it is not permanently damaged, is an unpleasant experience. Hot wine is clumsy, heavy, and alcoholic, with the fruit stewed. It’s about as refreshing as late August in New York City.

My first choice, if I want a big red on a hot summer evening, is to pour a glass and put it in the refrigerator for 20 minutes. My second choice is to use those plastic, reusable ice cubes that don’t shed water into the glass.

But if those aren’t an option, use conventional ice cubes to cool the wine down to a few degrees and then remove them. A slightly diluted wine at the right temperature on a hot evening is more pleasant than alcoholic cherry syrup.

Needless to say, don’t do this with an expensive wine.


  1. Dwight,
    I have more than once rescued/refashioned a warm or otherwise unsatisfactory, by-the-glass-red (or white) in a restaurant, by sneaking in a cube or two from the water glass.


  2. Agree entirely! I’ve been doing this for years with medium to heavy bodied “table wines” and with cheaper house wines in restaurants. As a Pinot Noir lover it’s the main way I can enjoy heavier reds whether it’s a hot summers day in the garden or winter afternoon in front of the fire with a Shiraz or Cabernet Sauvignon.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.