Most wineries where I live in California take a shipping break during the hottest months of the summer. Wine club members are warned that our shipments will be delayed, for the betterment of our wine, they will be sent when the weather permits it.
With that said I still have wines being sent for review from distributors further out, that will continue to use non-temperature controlled services via snail mail, UPS or FedEx. While others, that also want a review during the summer, will insure the safety of their wine by employing a courier service.
Why am I explaining all this to you? Well, I had one very hot bottle delivered a few weeks ago, so hot that it may have been what caused the cork to pop up and push away the foil. Other times bottles I received were just hot to the touch. In either scenario the wine may be fine, but it is not good to cook your wine, unless you are cooking with wine.
These are the main reasons you may have some cooked wine on your hands:
1. You left wine in your car, with other “nonperishable” groceries, to make a few more stops before going home.
2. You went wine tasting in the summer without an ice chest.
3. You leave your air conditioner turned off while you are at work or on vacation, and your wine is not in a temperature-controlled cellar.
4. You bought a cute bottle of wine that was sitting in a store window.
5. You kept your wine in a rack that gets direct sun.
So, though it is possible that your cooked wine may be okay, why take a chance? Please see this Wine 101 article about heat exposure as a reminder that wine needs to be kept in a temperature controlled cellar or the coolest room of your house. And here’s what my Facebook friends said about my own cooked-wine delivery:
Not a good sign. Pour it and see.
Why are they sending wine without letting you know delivery time? You can request UPS updates on delivery.
Corked. But may still retain some flavor.
Happens often. People buy wine, leave in the car, go to 3-4 other wineries and pop! Chill and drink it now.
You won’t know until you taste it. Cool it down gently. However, since if is for review, you really do not know whether it will be valid. Inform the shipper and request a new bottle.
Smell it first….
I would open it after a few days of rest, then you’ll know if it’s corked.
Too much heat, no air. Heck, try it to confirm its mulled wine at this point.
Just say no.
Great investigative work for research in case others go through this same unusual issue.
Eve Bushman has been reading, writing, taking coursework and tasting wine for over 20 years. She has obtained a Level Two Intermediate Certification from the Wine and Spirits Education Trust, has been the subject of a 60-minute Wine Immersion video, authored “Wine Etiquette for Everyone” and recently served as a guest judge for the L.A. International Wine Competition. You can email Eve@EveWine101.com to ask a question about wine or spirits that may be answered in a future column. You can also seek her marketing advice via Eve@EveBushmanConsulting.com