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How to Transport Wine- Our Best Tips & Tricks

An image of a bottle of wine in a Fortnum & Mason box, representing the topic of proper wine transportation.

Wine is a delicate beverage, and when it comes to transporting wine, it’s important to take the necessary precautions to preserve the delicious flavors and aromas of your wine. Transportation methods can play a huge role in how your wine tastes and smells.

At Wine Tours by Design, we encourage our clients to properly transport their precious wine bottles. This involves being mindful of the heat and sun, planning your trip carefully, and taking extra care when ordering wine off the internet.

The Effects of Heat and Sunlight on Wine

When transporting wine, it is best to avoid heat and sunlight. Both heat and sunlight can damage wine and turn the flavor into a less than satisfactory sour drink. Let’s get into the nitty gritty for why heat and sunlight are both terrible companions for your beautiful bottle of wine.

Why You Should Avoid Leaving Your Wine Bottle in the Heat

The short answer: warm temperatures can literally cook your wine.

Most wines start to age at about 72 degrees Fahrenheit, and wines begin suffering from heat damage at about 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Heat damaged wine tends to taste sour with a cooked fruit flavor. Heat can also cook out the acidity and powerful aroma of wine. Because heat oxidizes wine, it is common for heat damaged wines to have weak seals and swollen corks.

Why You Should Never Leave Your Wine Bottle in the Sun

Though the sun is great for growing grapes, it is terrible for carefully crafted wine. When a bottle of wine is left in the sun for too long, a chemical reaction will occur. The sun’s UV rays will start to charge up the riboflavin and pantothenic acid in the wine, which in turn, causes reactions with the wine’s amino acids. What you’re left with is a stinky wine that has released sulfur compounds.

It’s important to note that the tint of a wine bottle can provide some protection against UV rays. Clear wine bottles can only last for three hours in the sun. Green wine bottles can last for about 18 hours in the sun.

Why You Should Plan to Transport Wine

Because heat and sunlight can drastically change the flavor and aroma of your wine, it is important to plan to transport your wine. At Wine Tours by Design, we recommend making the wine store your last stop before you bring your wine bottle home. Leaving a bottle of wine in your car to run a few errands- especially in the summer- is a sure way to damage your wine. The ambient temperature in your car can rise 40 degrees in an hour, even in the spring and fall and at times in the winter.

If you can’t make the wine store your last stop, then we recommend bringing a cooler with you to keep the wine cool and out of the sun. Though it might seem inconvenient to drag a cooler with you on your errands, it’s even more inconvenient to open a bottle of wine that’s been heat or light damaged.

So, to recap: the wine store should be your last stop. If not, then the cooler is your best friend!

How to Safely Transport Wine That Was Ordered Online

Ordering wine online is a great option, but it comes with its own risks. Particularly, you want to avoid ordering wine when it might be subject to extreme temperatures. At Wine Tours by Design, we recommend calling the company you want to order wine from to learn all the details you can about the shipping process. These are some questions that you might want to ask:

What type of packaging is used?

(Pro tip: Styrofoam is a good insulator).

Will the wine have to sit overnight in warehouses or on trucks?

(This is crucial if temperatures are fluctuating or are in extreme highs or lows).

Could the wine be shipped at the beginning of the week?

(If wine ships on Monday or Tuesday, it is less likely that the order will sit in a warehouse over the weekend).

We’ve found that direct-to-consumer (DTC) purchases might be more ideal for ordering wine. This way, you can directly order from a winery without having third parties involved in the ordering process. The wineries love it, too!

Basic Wine Tips to Help You Have a Great Wine Experience

At Wine Tours by Design, we love to help people make the most of their wine experiences. From tours to private tastings to basic wine classes, we want to help you move forward on your wine journey with confidence.

Interested in learning more basic wine tips? Let us know! We’d love to hear from you!


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