SMACKDOWN: HOW HEAT KILLS WINE

Storing wine in your trunk is not a good move!

Heat is a very stealthy killer of your wine by destroying wine’s aromas and flavors.

Storing wine in your trunk is not a good move!

Furthermore, heat does not work alone.  Heat has its accomplices:  lack of humidity, light and vibration — they work as a team.

We all can agree that storing wine near the sauna or heating vent is a bad idea, but where are the other places we store wine that are just as damaging?

Storing wine above the refrigerator causes heat damage to the wine.

Your Worst Wine Storage Areas:

  • Shelving close to the ceiling in the kitchen
  • Above your refrigerator or oven in those handsome cross-hatch shelves
  • On your window sill
  • In your car or trunk
  • In your garage or outdoor shed

And, how long does it take for heat to kill or cook your wine and begin to degrade its chemical structure, losing its health benefits?  Heat is a quiet killer and strikes fast!  In less than an hour at above 82°F, the cork will start to seep. As a result, in the next few hours,  color begins to turn from brightness to dull brown and by hour #6, there’s permanent chemical (and depending on what the bottles cost) financial damage.

But, it won’t kill you.  It will taste flat, stewed, bleh.  Dump it.

What about the refrigerator for storage?  Glad, you asked!  The fridge is a tricky buddy of heat and its accomplices. It’s okay for storing short term a day or two.   Simply put, it’s too cold and temps vary as the cooling system cycles or the door opens and closes. Other food aromas can make their way into the wine as well.  A little bell pepper sensation in my Cab is okay, but not left-over pizza with roasted garlic.

Here’s a geeky bit:  Foods that have their own yeasts such as fruits and cheeses are fermentable and can mess with your wine’s aromas and flavor.

The best place to store your wine is in a wine refrigerator designed for that purpose. However, if you’ve no room nor budget for one of these, there are hacks.

Store your wines as close to the floor as possible, like a bottom drawer.  This is the coolest area in any room.

Best Wine Storing Hacks:

  • Your closet floor (given that it isn’t connected to a SW facing outside wall).
  • Under your bed or a bottom drawer
  • If you have a basement, store thereS
  • Store in the Styrofoam “shippers”, which minimize temp fluctuation. Bet you already have some either from wine you’ve received by mail or you can order them from U-Line

Tips:

  • You want to get to know your wine purveyor. Check out the shop and see where the wines are stored.  Is it air-conditioned?  Ask your purveyor if the wines are delivered in cooled trucks.
  • Pick up and feel the bottle, it should have a coolness like your cheek.
  • Some restaurants will store wine poorly – if the red wine bottle feels warm,  ask for an ice bucket  (no matter if you get an eye roll). The gentle cooling will brighten the wine if it hasn’t cooked.
  • If you think your wine might be ruined, pull the cork or unscrew the cap and taste. You may have caught it in time.

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Images:  Wine in Trunk of Car, Courtesy Diane Misol; Racks Above the Refrigerator, Courtesy Pinterest; Wines in the Bottom Drawer, Courtesy Houzz.

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