Water-filled wine bottles in storage

A section for those relatively new to wine, 'geeks in training', and for common wine topics
Post Reply
David Price
Posts: 4
Joined: April 7th, 2018, 3:36 pm

Water-filled wine bottles in storage

#1 Post by David Price » September 29th, 2018, 10:45 am

Does anyone else use empty wine bottles to fill with water, recork, then put in empty spaces in their coolers? I think it makes sense but can't find any scientific support for it, and it's a lot of work depending on the number of wines you have.

User avatar
Ian Sutton
Posts: 5329
Joined: March 6th, 2014, 2:19 pm
Location: Norwich, UK

Re: Water-filled wine bottles in storage

#2 Post by Ian Sutton » September 29th, 2018, 10:55 am

Hi David
If increasing thermal mass to smooth out temperature variations is the aim, then it's pretty solid science.
Normal for Norfolk

User avatar
Scott G r u n e r
Posts: 3777
Joined: June 6th, 2009, 9:03 pm
Location: Seattleish

Re: Water-filled wine bottles in storage

#3 Post by Scott G r u n e r » September 29th, 2018, 12:02 pm

I dont do this, but if you are concerned about temp fluctuations or adding a bit of extra mass to slow down warming in the case of a cooler failure or heat wave, this would make sense

Brian Gilp
Posts: 2681
Joined: May 29th, 2010, 6:00 am

Re: Water-filled wine bottles in storage

#4 Post by Brian Gilp » September 30th, 2018, 5:15 am

I’m having a hard time with a scenario where this is worth the effort. I have empty bottles, old corks, and a corker since I also make wine so could do this rather quickly. But unless the unit was less than half full, the best one could do would be a fractional increase in the overall thermal mass. And then there is the question of what to do with the water filled bottle when you need to remove one to make room for a wine bottle. It just seems to be too much effort for limited gain that is based on avoiding the worst case impact of a random event.

Now, if it’s a case where everything in the cooler is GC Burgundy, First Growth Bdx, Cult Cab, etc., then yes, fill every slot with water filled bottles as the impact of that random event is significant. But if like me it’s holding a lot of $20-$30 bottles, then the risk reward calculation just doesn’t justify the effort.

User avatar
John S
Posts: 881
Joined: May 29th, 2009, 11:45 am
Location: Chapel Hill, NC

Re: Water-filled wine bottles in storage

#5 Post by John S » September 30th, 2018, 7:03 am

Like others I can not really see a big reason to work so hard to increase the thermal mass here. I am assuming that is the reason to do this. If the cooler works fluctuations in air temp are low (maybe 5 degrees I think). Fluctuations in the liquid temps are less even if the cooler is not that full. Try a probe in a bottle and see.

If the reason is concern over a cooler failure and just adding a bit of time before temps rise I'd say there are other much better solutions than this small stop gap measure.
John Sprow

Clint S Q U I E R
Posts: 878
Joined: January 3rd, 2014, 2:46 pm

Re: Water-filled wine bottles in storage

#6 Post by Clint S Q U I E R » October 11th, 2018, 7:00 pm

This 100% works. I actually did an experiment when I finished my basement cellar....the more wine I added, the longer the time lapse was between my cooling unit running. It was a material difference as well. It was documented by my Netatmo thermostat, not just me noticing when it ran. No idea how this translates to wine fridge units, nor would I necessarily tell someone to fill hundreds of bottles with water to save just a few bucks on your electric bill - but if you worry about power outages in a warm climate, the juice may be worth the squeeze.

User avatar
Brian Tuite
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 20091
Joined: July 3rd, 2010, 8:53 am
Location: Podunk CA RRV

Re: Water-filled wine bottles in storage

#7 Post by Brian Tuite » October 11th, 2018, 7:41 pm

This is WineBeserkers... who has any empty slots in their storage? [scratch.gif]
Bob Wood - 1949-2013 Berserker for eternity! RIP

"On self-reflection, I think a big part of it was me just being a PITA customer..." ~ Anonymous Berserker

"Something so subtle only I can detect it." ~ Randy Bowman

2020 WOTY Candidates

- 2018 Once & Future Old Hill Ranch

User avatar
Mark Y
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 7617
Joined: May 1st, 2009, 11:19 am
Location: Bellevue, WA

Re: Water-filled wine bottles in storage

#8 Post by Mark Y » October 11th, 2018, 9:01 pm

Empty slots... how?

User avatar
Josh Grossman
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 2692
Joined: August 30th, 2017, 11:26 am

Re: Water-filled wine bottles in storage

#9 Post by Josh Grossman » October 11th, 2018, 11:15 pm

They say if the apocalypse comes, one of the most important things is to fill your bathtub with drinking water before you lose electricity and water pumps. I suppose it makes sense to have some water around for emergencies--but I plan on just drinking wine for months when Station Eleven comes our way. I do have a bunch of Skyline Chili in a can in case of an emergency too. I have an old passive root cellar for my wine though and it's never worried me on temperature variation too much--so no worries about the electric going out and thermal mass.

David Price
Posts: 4
Joined: April 7th, 2018, 3:36 pm

Re: Water-filled wine bottles in storage

#10 Post by David Price » October 18th, 2018, 4:05 am

A friend got married and moved to San Diego with her husband, who had plenty of wine storage, so she gave me a 650 bottle unit double insulated with large compressor outfitted to go into a garage (Southern California). I figure with that unit at least half full, plus several other units inside, I have enough wine to leave my sons some but worry as the garage unit begins to empty about variations in temp.. Thanks for your thoughts!

User avatar
Brent C l a y t o n
Posts: 5472
Joined: May 6th, 2009, 9:21 am
Location: Elmhurst, NY

Re: Water-filled wine bottles in storage

#11 Post by Brent C l a y t o n » October 18th, 2018, 7:55 am

Put other stuff in there. Liquor, soda, bottled water, olive oil, anything you want to store and could have at a lower temp. Saves the labor of collecting/filling wine bottles.

I would say that given your location and conditions you are a prime example of a person for whom it might be worth a little effort.
‘Purveyor of Plonk’
ITB Sales

Post Reply

Return to “Wine 101: The Basics”