No ice bucket (or ice) required.

We've all been there -- the party's just getting started and you find yourself with a warm bottle of wine that you need chilled, stat. Most of us know about chilling wine in an ice bucket with ice and water, but not everyone has an ice bucket or enough ice to spare, especially if multiple bottles need chilling.

Case in point -- just the other day, I was surprising my husband with a bottle of champagne for completing a big project at work. I went to pick up a bottle from a restaurant down the road, which has also turned into a wine shop since the pandemic. The sommelier helped me choose a bottle, but it was warm. The surprise wasn't tomorrow, it was right now. So, what to do?

The sommelier let me in on a secret restaurant trick to getting wine or sparkling wine ice cold, fast. Here's how it's done, and the best part is you don't need an ice bucket or ice to do it. I tried it as soon as I got home and had a perfectly chilled bottle of champagne in about 15 to 20 minutes.

sparkling wine being poured into a glass
Credit: Meredith Publishing

How To Chill Wine in the Freezer

What you'll need:

  • Paper towel
  • Water
  • A freezer
  • Bottle of wine or sparkling wine

Step 1: Wrap wine bottle in a damp paper towel

bottle of champagne wrapped in a damp paper towel
Credit: Diana Moutsopoulos

Wet the paper towel with cool water, wringing out any excess. Wrap it around the wine bottle so that every bit is covered, from top to bottom. You may need two to three sheets of paper towel.

Step 2: Place wine bottle in freezer

champagne bottle in freezer to chill
Credit: Diana Moutsopoulos

Carefully place the bottle in your freezer wherever there's space. It can be set on its side or kept upright -- whatever you have room for. Leave it there for at least 15 minutes.

Step 3: Remove towel and enjoy!

champagne bottle after chilling in freezer
Credit: Diana Moutsopoulos

After 15 to 20 minutes chilling in the freezer, your wine or champagne bottle should be seriously cool to the touch. Now it's time to unwrap the bottle and enjoy! If in doubt, or if you have the time, you can leave it in for another 5 to 10 minutes, but set that timer on your phone so you don't forget it.

Thanks to my friends at Barbrix in Los Angeles, California for this amazing tip.