Welcome to Summer! It’s time for backyard barbecues, picnics at the beach and other jolly outdoor times! It’s the time for chilled crisp white and rose wines and light and luscious barbecue reds. With many parts of the country exhibiting significant heatwaves, Mrs. Vino thought she’d take a moment to talk about wine and heat.
There is one phrase guaranteed to strike chills into Mrs. Vino’s heart in summer. That phrase, uttered after a wine purchase, is “I’ll put this in the car.” While I completely understand the desire to not have to carry around a bottle/six pack/case of wine while tasting and buying wine, let’s take a quick look at what the National Weather Service says happens to a car interior in summer.
The far left column shows the exterior temperature. The columns then show the temperature in degrees over the time frame of 5 to 60 minutes. So at an exterior temperature of a balmy 80 degrees, within an hour the interior temperature of your car is 127. Realistically, exposure to temperatures to over 90 degrees, even for a short time, can “cook” your wine. A great indication that your wine has been in your car and exposed to heat for too long is that either the cork has started to pop out or the neck of the bottle under the foil is sticky and wet. Have a bottle of wine sealed under screwcap in the trunk of your car? You won’t get any hints on that bottle – you won’t be able tell that wine has cooked until you try to drink it.
So what is “cooked” wine? Well it certainly won’t kill you, but it won’t taste very good either. Cooked wines have lost the delicate balance of fruit, tannin, acidity and sweetness. They frequently taste a bit pruney or like stewed fruit. What should you do it your wine has cooked? Well put it in the fridge and try to bring it back down to 60 or so degrees, then drink it as soon as possible. Like today. And be ready to put it aside for cooking, or even pour it down the drain if it tastes off.
When travelling, treating your wine as if it is a carton of ice cream or a basket of fresh, perfect berries. If you are wine tasting during the summer (or warm winter, spring or fall days), carry an insulated cooler and a couple of ice packs in your car. Wine should go into the cooler at the last possible moment. Most wineries will be happy to hold your wine until you have finished your tasting tour – then just swing by and pick it all up on the way out of town. At Morovino, with a 2 bottle minimum purchase, we’ll deliver your wine to any of the local Pismo or Avila hotels! If you are traveling with your wine, it should be in the passenger compartment of the vehicle – hopefully where there is air-conditioning. If you are comfortable with the temperature, your wine should be comfortable too.
So please avoid tragedy and don’t leave your wine (or your dogs or your kids) in a hot car this summer!