Spring is firmly on the horizon, which means it’ll soon be the season for picnics, day trips and –weather permitting – the odd optimistic barbecue. Raising a glass to the great outdoors doesn’t mean forsaking an enjoyable serving temperature, though. Here’s how to keep your wine cool when you’re out and about.
1. Chill sticks
The most obvious way to keep your wine chilled on the go is to use a cool box, but if you’re off to the park or the beach, chances are it’s already packed to the brim with snacks and other drinks. Instead of finding space for a whole bottle (or two!) in there, take along a much more space-efficient freezable chill stick, then pop it in the bottle 10 minutes before serving. This one from John Lewis (£19.75) will keep a bottle cold for an hour, and also acts as a pourer and stopper.
2. Cooling sleeves
A wine bottle cooling sleeve keeps wine cold and helps keep bottles safe during transit. There are a variety of bulkier, metallic plastic versions on the market (some brands give them away when you buy their wines), but this one from Le Creuset (£21) is much sleeker. Keep it in the freezer, and after 20 minutes on the bottle (it’s adjustable to fit a variety of shapes and sizes) your wine will be chilled and ready to pour.
3. Frozen grapes
Ice cubes will do the job nicely, but you risk watering down your wine as they melt. Instead, freeze some grapes before you go out, keep them in a small cool bag and then pop them in your glass when you’re ready to enjoy your wine. A few grapes will do a fine job of cooling down a small glass without affecting the flavour. However, this trick is best suited to everyday wines, rather than expensive or fine bottles.
4. Moving water
Cold moving water is an exceptionally good coolant, as it absorbs heat quickly and carries it away. So take advantage of Mother Nature’s very own cooling system while you’re out and about by submerging your wine bottle in a flowing stream or, if you’re on a boat, the lake or sea. Just make sure you keep it anchored to something, lest it float away forever.
5. Wet paper towels
It’s not the most sophisticated method of cooling a bottle, but it works very well in a pinch. Wrap your wine in wet paper towels or toilet paper, and as the moisture evaporates from the paper the contents of the bottle will cool down – much like the way sweat evaporating from skin lowers the body’s temperature. If you can wet the paper with cold water to begin with, all the better.
And an extra tip…
For all of these methods, make sure you periodically swirl the wine inside the bottle. This will ensure all the liquid cools down evenly, rather than just the wine touching the cooling component.