Wine is delicate, especially as relates to temperature. If a fine wine is exposed to hot temperatures, things can go very wrong. Temperature is as important during transportation as it is during wine storage.
What Happens When Wine Gets Hot?
It is essential to keep precious bottles of fine wine from being exposed to temperatures outside the range of what is ideal. The following are some milestones in which wine is negatively affected:
- Protect wine from temperatures of up to 80°F. This is the threshold temperature at which wine is getting too hot. The wine expands upwards as a result of the heat. Liquid can begin seeping around the cork. The heat can even cause the cork to push out of the bottle, breaking the seal. Because the cork has become compromised, oxidation occurs.
- Wine lovers will want to take note that after 18 hours at 86°F, a permanent chemical change occurs, the sulfur dioxide in the wine drops, the wine turns a brown hue, and the brightness of flavor is lost.
- After six hours in 100°F temperatures, wine is damaged.
How to Transport Wine in Hot Temperatures
Sadly, many new wine collectors and casual wine drinkers unknowingly expose their wines to too much heat before the bottles ever arrive home. From the moment of purchase, it’s important to keep the temperature of the wine in mind. Ideally, you will have a portable cooling method ready to act as your wine storage until you get the bottles home. You can travel with a cooler packed with ice, a cooler packed with no-sweat ice packs, or store your wine in a Styrofoam insert that protects wine when the temperature is too warm. These methods can also be used to protect your wine on an airplane.
Not sure whether heat damage has occurred to your wine? A sticky cork is one sign. Another, as far as taste, is that overheated wine has sour, fruity notes with an increased level of acidity. The aroma may resemble stewed or canned fruits.
When you get home, of course, you will want to place your wine into proper wine storage conditions. If you don’t have a wine cellar but you are interested in maintaining a small wine collection in ideal conditions, free standing wine storage cabinets are available. Liebherr has the Wine Cabinet WS 1200, which has a glass and stainless steel door and stainless steel sides. There is a warmer drawer for items such as chocolates.
As a wine collector, it’s important to consider both transportation and storage, to ensure that when you open the bottle, you can experience the wine as it was meant to be enjoyed.