Even though summer is starting to wind down, you wouldn’t know it with the never-ending heat and humidity spikes we have experienced here in the Northeast. The warm weather not only brings to mind ways to keep your wines stored properly in your home, but how they are being stored and shipped when making a purchase. After all, the wine has probably seen a bit of travel and storage before it even makes it to your front door.
The first thing you want to check out is the vintage on the wine you are purchasing. Many times retail wine shops will have blow out sales on older vintages that are on their last legs. It doesn’t necessarily mean the wine is shot, but it is something to inquire about before making the purchase.
See if your retailer recently purchased the wine, and if so was it sitting in a temperature controlled environment at a winery or distributor? Or was it just found out in a shed somewhere left for dead. You also want to see if that retailer will take the wine back if it has turned… after all why should you pay for wine if you get vinegar?!
You also want to check into the storage facility situation of your wine purveyor. A lot of retailers may purchase large amounts of wine so they can offer their customers a super discounted price. That is all well and good, however if they are in over their heads and have all the inventory sitting in their warm storage room over the summer you may be in for a disappointment when you open that bottle.
If you are a new world wine consumer and purchase most of your wine online, then a big aspect to be wary of is shipping methods. A few of the biggest transportation issues include using thin and flimsy cardboard (I know Styrofoam is terrible for the environment but it is fantastic for insulation), shipping ground when the delivery will be more than 2-3 days (always look into expedited shipping options), and not holding up shipments during the extreme heat spikes. Some companies will even put cold gel packs in the shipping cases… now that’s cool!
The moral of the story is this; don’t be afraid to ask before you buy. Wine is a delicate, living and breathing thing in which movement, vibration and large temperature fluctuations can wreak havoc. So the same way you would grill a car dealer before pulling the trigger on a new car purchase, you may want to do the same the next time you buy some vino. This can help ensure you achieve maximum enjoyment from your next glass of wine. Cheers!