Whether you’re visiting family for a dinner party or taking a vacation with friends, you will one day need to transport bottles of wine in your car.
Wine can be very sensitive, especially to high temperatures, so be sure to follow the tips below to ensure your wine is still fit to drink when you arrive at your destination.
WINE TRANSPORTING TIPS
Avoid the trunk
Even at normal temperatures, wine should be kept cool (between 55 and 65 degrees). If you can, treat wine as a passenger and carry it in the car with you rather than in the trunk where temperatures can reach over 100 degrees, even on a moderately warm day.
Favor the shade
Direct sunlight is the enemy of wine, even when the external temperature may seem mild. If you have to park up for any length of time, make sure that your wine is placed so that it is in the shade. Ideally, look for a spot where the entire car is under cover.
Bring it inside
If you are leaving your car for any length of time, consider bringing your wine with you if this is practical. For example, wine will fare better in an air conditioned hotel room than in a car and you may find that friends will be happy to allow you to keep some bottles in their basement.
If you have purchased some wine from a winery, ask if you can leave it with them until the very last minute. They will often oblige.
Keep the cork moist
A dried out cork is a recipe for oxidization and spoiled wine. Counter this by always storing your wine upside down or on its side.
Use a cooler box
The best way to keep wine cool is undoubtedly by using a cooler box with some no sweat ice packs. Avoid crushed ice as this will melt and damage the labels on the bottles. No sweat ice packs can be tricky to find sometimes so make sure you order your supplies in good time.
Protect from physical breakage
Of course, there’s no point in keeping your wine cool if the bottles end up smashed in transit! New Haven supply quality wine packing boxes which include molded foam inserts for either six or twelve bottles.
Give your bottles a break
Did you know that the vibrations from travel can actually affect the flavor of wine? The good news is that ‘travel shock’ or ‘bottle shock’ is completely reversible. Just allow your bottles a few weeks of recovery time in a cool, dry place.
If you need to transport a lot of wine or are going to be driving for a long time, shipping your wine may be the best option. If you go this route, invest in good quality wine carton shippers and make sure there will be someone aged 21 or over to sign at the other end. Shipping laws vary by country – and even state – so be sure to check the rules ahead of time to avoid disappointment.
All of the above tips are doubly important when temperatures start to hit 80 degrees and above. In these conditions you should consider transporting your wine in specialty boxes which include styrofoam for insulation. These are routinely used in the wine, food and medical industries. Add some no sweat ice packs.
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN WINE GETS TOO HOT?
We have said that wine is sensitive to high temperature but how high is high? And what actually happens to the wine?
Once wine hits 80 degrees, it will begin to expand. This is unlikely to permanently ruin the flavor of the wine but it can seep out from around the cork and even break the seal. Once this has happened, the wine will start to oxidize. Evidence of seepage includes a sticky neck and stained cork.
Storing wine at 86 degrees or more for prolonged periods will cause permanent changes. After 18 hours at this temperature, the wine will lose its brightness, turn brown in color and sulfur dioxide levels will fall. This irreversible damage will occur within just 6 hours as temperatures reach 100 degrees.
Evidence of damage includes an acidic taste with sour, jammy notes and a scent of stewed fruits.
Taking the effort to transport your wine supply properly will pay off when you finally get a chance to pop the cork and pour a glass.