Have you ever been enjoying a glass of wine after work, or over dinner at a friend’s house, and wondered if wine is flammable?
You wouldn’t be the only one.
In fact, it is not an uncommon question - especially when many people these days keep numerous bottles of wine at home, or stored away in a wine cellar. You might have even tried making your own wine.
Whether it’s red, white, or rosé, we all love wine. It goes great with food, it’s not too strong, and is even good for you when consumed in moderation.
But is wine flammable?
Find the answer down below, including some tips on the best way to store your wine for quality and safety.
What ABV Is Flammable?
First off, let’s go over what percentage of alcohol (ABV) is considered flammable.
In general, any alcohol that is “proof” - at least 50% in ethanol volume - is considered flammable.
Having said that, however, this does not mean that any 50% alcohol, or above, will explode or cause a huge flame. In fact, if you were to try to set alight to 50% alcohol, the flame itself would not being anything significant, and would only last a few seconds or more.
Another way to explain it is to look at the flashpoint of alcohol. Flashpoint, in chemistry, is used to measure the temperature at which something will catch fire. In general, the flashpoint of alcohol, including wine, is too high for it to be considered flammable.
Also, for a fun fact, it is actually the vapors coming from the ethanol that can catch fire, not the liquid itself.
Will Wine Catch Fire?
Now that you know what level of ABV is flammable, you can pretty much answer this question for yourself!
As wine generally falls in the 12% to 15% ABV range, wine is not flammable. It does not have a high enough alcohol percentage (ABV) and its flashpoint is just too high.
So, if you were to attempt to put a flame to wine or pour wire into a fire, nothing would happen.
For that reason, wine is also not considered to be a fire hazard. So there’s no need to start relocating your wine collection!
Is Sparkling Wine Flammable?
What about sparkling wine, or champagne? Is champagne flammable?
Sparkling wine and champagne are not considered flammable. Again, the alcohol percentage of sparkling wine is just not high enough to cause a flame or start a fire.
While it might seem to be a different case, given the “sparkling” element of these alcohol drinks, this does not increase its flammability.
What About Wine Bottles?
Wine bottles are not flammable. But what would happen if you put a flame to a wine bottle, or put a wine bottle in a fire?
Should a wine bottle meet a significant flame, you can expect the wine bottle itself to crack, shatter or start to melt slightly. Whether this poses a danger or not depends on how hot the flame is and how the wine has been stored.
The danger itself is more to do with heat pressure inside the bottle, rather than the wine.
As a rule, it’s best not to keep or store wine nor anything that is remotely hot.
Does Wine Explode?
You may have come across stories, or heard stories from your friends, about wine exploding - often randomly.
The thing is that wine can, in fact, explode under certain conditions.
In general, wine should not ever reach a temperature higher than 75 degrees Fahrenheit.
The reason for this is that the heat can initiate oxidation, and then fermentation, inside the bottle, resulting in a build-up of pressure that must eventually be released.
This is more prone to happening to corked wine bottles, in which the cork can “explode” or fire from the bottle.
It goes without saying that bottled wine that reaches a high temperature can be dangerous.
Which Liquors Are Flammable?
If wine is not flammable, which liquors are considered flammable?
Any alcoholic drink that is over 50% in alcohol volume is considered flammable, which includes strong vodkas, gins, whiskeys, tequilas, rums, and beers (yes, high alcohol beers over 50% exist).
Of course, the higher the alcohol or ethanol level, the more flammable it will be.
As very strong alcohol drinks are not that common, it is more than likely that the alcohol you have stored at home is not considered flammable, or a fire hazard.
Is Beer Flammable?
Believe it or not, some beers are flammable, but this only applies to high alcohol beers that are, of course, above 50%.
Wait… There are beers that have over 50% alcohol?
Yes! In fact, the strongest beer in the world, Brewmeister’s Snake Venom, is 67.5% ABV.
You would not want to drink this beer quickly. You would also not want to leave it near a fire by accident!
Can Wine Put Out A Fire?
In an emergency situation, could you use wine to put out a fire?
If you had nothing else to use to fight a growing fire, you could in fact use wine to put it out, or at least suppress the fire to some degree.
As wine is not flammable liquid, you would not risk aggravating the fire or making it worse.
However, if the fire is not small, you would probably need more than a single bottle of wine for your efforts to be worthwhile. In other words: don’t risk it.
Best Way To Store Wine
So, what is the best way to store wine?
If you are worried about exploding wine bottles or just want to preserve the quality of your wine, the best way to keep wine is:
- In a mostly dry place.
- Out of the sun, and away from sources of heat.
- With the bottle laid horizontally.
For wine that has a cork, excessive dryness can cause the cork to shrink. This would allow oxygen to get inside the bottle, running the risk of oxidation and unwanted fermentation. This is what leads to exploding wine bottles, or the cork firing from the bottle.
For the same reason, it is best to keep wine out of the sun and away from heat. This would also cause the cork to dry out!
Similarly, wine is best kept in a lying horizontal position to make sure that the cork stays relatively moist. In fact, it is more ideal to store the wine upside down than in an upright standing position.
As a rule, wine should not reach a higher temperature than 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Therefore, it should not be kept close to a fireplace, stove, or left in a car on a hot day. This applies to red, white, and rosé wine, as well as sparkling wine.
The short answer is no, wine is not flammable.
This is due to its low alcohol percentage, which is not high enough to be considered flammable. To put it another way: the flashpoint of wine is not low enough for it to catch fire.
Wine is generally around 12% in alcohol, and alcohol does not become flammable until the 50% mark. Even then, 50% alcohol is not a percentage that would cause a significant fire or flame.
This is the same for red wine, white wine, rosé wine, and sparkling wine (champagne)>
While wine is not flammable, corked bottles of wine do, however, run the risk of “exploding”. This is when pressure builds up inside the bottle due to heat and oxidation, which can cause the cork to fire from the bottle. So, don’t store your wine in the sun or near a heat source!
To make sure your wine is stored safely and kept at optimum quality, store it out of the sun, somewhere cool and dry, and laid horizontally to keep the cork relatively moist.