Shipping your wine can be dangerous especially if you're in the middle of a heatwave or shipping from a hot country. If a shipment of wine comes in and it is warm you need to know what to look for to determine whether or not the wine can be served.
Signs of Heat Damaged Wine
Bulging Cork - Check that the cork is not bulging or popping out, it needs to be flush with the bottleneck. This is the first thing you should check and the easiest to check.
Aroma & Taste - If you do see that the cork has started to bulge or have received a batch of unusually warm wine open a bottle and taste it. If the wine is flat, without much flavour and lacking in aroma and finish compared to a freshly opened bottle then you may have a heat damaged batch.
Colour - Finally check the colour of the wine. If it is a white wine the colour will darken, and red wines will take on a brick colour.
Even at temperatures of 28°C, which we sometimes do see here in the UK, fine wine can be spoilt. Anything above 30°C will, in less than 18 hours, oxidise the wine turning it brown and suck all flavour from the drink turning your £150 fine wine in to a wine that tastes like you bought it for £1.50. This could be devastating to your company especially if you're a fine wine merchant looking for stellar reviews. If you don't keep your wine at the standard temperature of 13°C but instead store your wine at 25°C your wine will lose its flavour 7 times faster. This might be a good time to point you towards our wine coolers page, don't get caught out with warm flavourless wine!
How to Restore Your Heat Damaged Wine
Store your wine in a dark location for at least a month. If you are storing it in a wine cooler, you should be okay as long as the door has UV protection.
Make sure it is in a cool place, no warmer than 20°C, ideally around 13°C.
Keep the wines surroundings quiet and still. Let the wine settle, rest and repair itself.
A good deterrent for this issue is paying the little extra for temperature controlled shipping on your wine shipments. This will guarantee you will not experience heat damage while your wine is in transit. If you are holding many bottles of wine then a wine cooler is a must, you simply can't take the risk of letting your wine turn in to a bland grape juice while it is in your possession. If you have the slightest suspicion that your wine has been damaged by the heat open a bottle and find out, I'd rather lose on one bottle than serve bland, boring, uninteresting wine. Wine damage is one of the most widespread and common problems found in wine that often goes unnoticed by consumers and merchants which can ruin a restaurant or wine brands reputation.