Red wine is probably the last thing on your mind during bouts of hot weather. However, beware! Heat can damage wine. Significant exposure to 70-degree temperatures and above may permanently damage the wine flavor. At 80 degrees and above, you are literally cooking your wine. Heat damaged wine has an unpleasantly jammy and sour taste – like canned prunes. Heat also compromises the bottle seal integrity, leading to oxidation issues.
Do Not Leave Wine in the Car
Your car, especially the trunk, can reach temperatures of over 100 degrees Fahrenheit on the average summer day. Wine starts cooking at over 90 degrees Fahrenheit. When you purchase wine, treat it just like you would treat a quart of ice cream or fresh berries. If you have to run errands when purchasing wine:
- Place your bottle in the passenger compartment
- Pick up or purchase your bottle of wine as your last stop before you go directly home
- If on a wine tasting adventure, carry your wine purchases into the next restaurant or winery
Wine Could be Damaged Before You Get it
Do not buy wine from a store with a muggy or hot inside. In addition, the way stores receive and handle their wine deliveries greatly impacts shelf life and quality. In extreme weathers, purchase your wine supplies from stores that have protected receiving docks or with streamlined open-air receiving procedures. Here are a few precautions you should take when purchasing wine online:
- Read the wine retailer’s shipping options, sometimes they may choose to hold your wine until the weather is cooler
- Make sure that the retailer uses a professional wine shipping service to deliver purchases to its clients
- Buy wine bottles in units of six or more
Your House Could be Too Warm
In hot weather conditions, temperatures inside an air conditioned home can rise to the low or mid 70s’. Homes without AC are more likely to have much higher temperatures. The wild temperature fluctuations are likely to cause damage to your wine too.
- Store wine in basement or cellar
- Refrigerate your wine if you do not have a storage room
- Do not place wine on top of the fridge or close to windows
- Garages and attics are major heat traps that magnify heat and cool way down at night, do not store your wine there.
There is no way to tell by looking at the bottle if the wine has been damaged by heat. The only real test is taste. However, follow the tips above, and you will be well on your way to ensuring that your wine does not get damaged by heat.