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Shipping in cold? Worry/No worry?
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Where I live, it's -5 to 0 F outside today. Just as an experiment, I took two identical bottles of wine, a cheap Tempranillo I've been drinking lately, and put them outside, in a shady spot on the porch. I packed one inside a styrofoam shipper, and put it in a snug fitting box, the other, standing upright, no protection. I checked in on them after three hours. The exposed bottle was pretty much solid, with a cork that had pushed up through the foil two inches. The other one (I opened it to check), was very cold, but had no ice build up, and an intact cork. It tasted fine.

With really hot weather, it's a no brainer, you'll get damaged, crappy tasting wine in a hurry. Shipping in extreme heat is a no go no-brainer in my book.

With cold weather shipping, people seem to get equally nervous about it, and I'm not sure why. We know that wine freezes in the low 20s F, the teens if it's got high sugar or ETOH. Someone might have other opinions, but IMO, if wine gets cold, but does not start to freeze, it'll be unaffected once it's warmed up. Basically, so what if it gets down to 30 degrees, or even a bit colder, no worries, IMO.

After reading through the B-21 thread, I have to ask:

I am curious, have you ever received a frozen or otherwise verifiably cold-damaged bottle that's been shipped to you? If so, what was the situation?

Thx all!


-IB

"Wine only turns into alcohol if you let it sit."---Lindsay Bluth
 
Posts: 8879 | Location: The Circle City | Registered: Nov 24, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Try the search function. Roll Eyes


Just one more sip.
 
Posts: 36781 | Location: NY | Registered: Oct 18, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I did try the search function and I find diverse responses, so I'll just add that I am still interested in opinions (and yes anecdotes). But maybe this is just because someone chose this week to send me two bottles, ground, without asking or thinking to hold it, and it is due tomorrow, so I sit and worry about the condition of what I will receive. And worry. And worry... (I mean hey, these are good bottles)
 
Posts: 477 | Registered: Mar 20, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I have a case being shipped to me soon (if not already), majority of which are daily drinkers. I'll try to remember to report back to further the current experiment.


"The greatest thing you'll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return."
 
Posts: 1897 | Registered: Feb 27, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Intersting experiment, IB, and I applaud you.

Your results are not surprising. However, this is after 3 hours, yes. NOW, imagine that bottle in styrofoam, on a truck for 3 days (60 hours).

Moral of the story:
January - March: Best to not ship wine. Wink
 
Posts: 15477 | Location: Montreal, QC | Registered: Feb 17, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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No worries if packed semi-properly. By that I mean in a box of some sort, as long as it is not ground.


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Posts: 2645 | Location: Edmonton | Registered: Feb 06, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by KSC02:


Moral of the story:
January - March: Best to not ship wine. Wink


Confused

No, the best time to ship in Texas! Big Grin
 
Posts: 30081 | Location: Dallas, TX & Santa Fe, NM | Registered: Feb 21, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I'm surprised the cork pushed up the foil. With that cold and dry, cork should have shrunk and not gone up.
Interesting.


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Posts: 1506 | Location: Chicago | Registered: Sep 05, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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isn't it true with some white wines, fine burgundy and such, that once you get them too cold, they are never really the same? I don't drink enough of the stuff (fine white burgundy that is) to really know, but I remember reading that in a wine book somewhere, maybe Zraly?
 
Posts: 127 | Registered: Apr 14, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Sounds like the same weather we're having here. It's -6 out right now and dropping.

I've had a few with those little crystals in the bottom and around the cork that I think were from being frozen briefly that otherwise seemed fine. If they ship you're wine to you in 3 hours you might not need to worry but try that same experiment for two days in the same Temps and you'll get the same result as the uninsulated bottle I promise you. Styrofoam can only insulate for so long and I'm sure it's not days.

I don't know if cargo holds on planes are heated either, they probably are, but if not they should get down to -50 or so regularly for a few hours year round while at altitude but that doesn't seem to effect the wines I have had shipped that way so maybe thay are temp controlled.
 
Posts: 2299 | Location: NH Seacoast | Registered: Oct 14, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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KSC02,

I hear you, for sure. But, I doubt that the contents of the back of a UPS truck go for 60 straight hours in this kind of extreme temperature. I'd think drivers would keep the heat cranked, at least during their 8-10 hour shift. But, you may very well be right. Maybe someone who has courier experience can chime in?

french16, it's got nothing to do with the humidity, remember your basic physics. If you drill holes in stone, fill them with water that later freezes, voila: Cracked stone through expansion. Early road builders used this trick in the mountains. The expansion needed to push up a cork is minor by comparison.

Chum lee, interesting, I'd be curious to find out if a very cold, but non-frozen burgundy or such is negatively affected by the chilling.

Icewino, for sure. It's -6 here now, and should bottom out around -10. It'd take a hell of a lot of insulation (more than the styro shipper for sure), to keep the cork down during a whole evening out in the elements.


-IB

"Wine only turns into alcohol if you let it sit."---Lindsay Bluth
 
Posts: 8879 | Location: The Circle City | Registered: Nov 24, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Its -25 below here. Spit and it freezes on contact with the ground.

I also believe the motion of the wine being juggled around in shipping aids to the wines not freezing verus sitting still.


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Posts: 1437 | Location: Land of the Sick Cab Weekend | Registered: Oct 17, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by wine+art:
quote:
Originally posted by KSC02:


Moral of the story:
January - March: Best to not ship wine. Wink


Confused

No, the best time to ship in Texas! Big Grin

O.K. then, I suppose we need to define the moral as applying to YANKEE country, specifically. Razz
 
Posts: 15477 | Location: Montreal, QC | Registered: Feb 17, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by indybob:

I am curious, have you ever received a frozen or otherwise verifiably cold-damaged bottle that's been shipped to you? If so, what was the situation?

Thx all!


Yes. More than once.

In some cases, I mean bottles, the cork was pushed completely out and the wine spilled into the packaging.
In every case/bottle, there was an unusual amount of sediment. I presume that the freezing precipitated out tartrates and other solids.
I really can't say for sure how the taste was affected. The empty, or nearly empty, bottles gave no clue. I didn't have a comparison non-frozen bottle to calibrate the others.
I've read some comments that frozen-thawed wine seemed softer, but diminished in fruit. I can't support that from experience, but I can imagine that the solids that fall out might consist of more than just tartrates. By observation, the residue was not the typical clear crystalline tartrates.
Due to the seal being compromised, I didn't risk trying to store or age any of the wines with corks pushed up in the neck. Dead soldiers tell no tales.
 
Posts: 2295 | Registered: Jul 12, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Bummer pdn, thanks for the info. What were the circumstances? Temperature in your area at the time, what was the shipping method/courier, and so forth? Any pattern that you found, other than it was cold? I found this interesting discussion on taste of these wines: Clicky.

I'd think that while the wines wouldn't be ruined in the short term, the long term ageworthiness would of course be severely impeded (assuming a top up and proper recork), due to the sudden precipitates.


-IB

"Wine only turns into alcohol if you let it sit."---Lindsay Bluth
 
Posts: 8879 | Location: The Circle City | Registered: Nov 24, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Yep was moving some wine into my car this morning and it was -17F but normally wine doesn't freeze unless it's below...say 20F. I picked this up on some website via google. I suppose it's just like a pop can you throw into the freezer to cool off and you forget about it.

I have some cheap white wine that I'll experiment with. An official study shall we??
 
Posts: 2205 | Location: Chicago Suburbs | Registered: Oct 25, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by french16:
I'm surprised the cork pushed up the foil. With that cold and dry, cork should have shrunk and not gone up.
Interesting.


Liquid expands when frozen. The cork moved up to compensate for the pressure of the expanding wine.
 
Posts: 25 | Registered: Sep 24, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by mcease:
quote:
Originally posted by french16:
I'm surprised the cork pushed up the foil. With that cold and dry, cork should have shrunk and not gone up.
Interesting.


Liquid water expands when frozen. The cork moved up to compensate for the pressure of the expanding wine.


khmark7, very cool. If you feel like playing around with some cheapies, go for it, and post your findings.


-IB

"Wine only turns into alcohol if you let it sit."---Lindsay Bluth
 
Posts: 8879 | Location: The Circle City | Registered: Nov 24, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by french16:
I'm surprised the cork pushed up the foil. With that cold and dry, cork should have shrunk and not gone up.
Interesting.

I've had similar experiences with beer. I'll get back from a ride or after doing some yard work and realize I don't have a cold one so maybe I'll throw one in the freezer and forget about it. When I remember hours later or the next day, the cap is pushed way up and off of the bottle by a slushie of beer.


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Posts: 2249 | Location: o-HIGH-o | Registered: May 05, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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It isn't surprising that the cork goes up, the frozen liquid occupies greater volume and there is nowhere for the air to go.

RESULT - I just got my wine. Shipped on Tuesday. Ground. Northeast to Midwest through the coldest week of the winter. And... The wine appears to be fine. The corks are not raised at all. The wine in the bottle moves albeit very slowly. I have now placed the wine in a cool spot to acclimate slowly.
I am very relieved. I didn't really want to try out a Les Suchots Popsicle tonight. Now I'll hope that the wine inside is really okay. But we will wait awhile to find out that part.
 
Posts: 477 | Registered: Mar 20, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by indybob:
Bummer pdn, thanks for the info. What were the circumstances? Temperature in your area at the time, what was the shipping method/courier, and so forth? Any pattern that you found, other than it was cold? I found this interesting discussion on taste of these wines: Clicky.

I'd think that while the wines wouldn't be ruined in the short term, the long term ageworthiness would of course be severely impeded (assuming a top up and proper recork), due to the sudden precipitates.


IB,

The wine came from the east coast. While it does get cold out here, it doesn't get cold enough to freeze wine in a delivery truck. It didn't get cold enough to freeze wine sitting on my deck. I'm assuming the freeze was as it was transported by ground across the Midwest.

Old wines sometimes get re-corked, so it may be that just pushing the cork back in all the way is enough to allow the wine to be stored and aged almost as normal. I'll leave that experiment to someone else.
 
Posts: 2295 | Registered: Jul 12, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Left a bottle of cheap white wine on my back porch for several hours now and the temp is 15F...not a single ice crystal.

Oh and yes, this is how I am spending my Friday night...
 
Posts: 2205 | Location: Chicago Suburbs | Registered: Oct 25, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by khmark7:
Left a bottle of cheap white wine on my back porch for several hours now and the temp is 15F...not a single ice crystal.

Oh and yes, this is how I am spending my Friday night...


Good for you. Just be sure to drink while you whittle the time. Smile


"The greatest thing you'll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return."
 
Posts: 1897 | Registered: Feb 27, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Received a mixed case today. Was shipped yesterday. Temperature here was about 24F today, so nowhere near the extreme lows of last week. Bottles were cold, but no signs of damage (seepage, pushed up corks, etc...). These are mostly daily drinkers, so wouldn't have done it with wines I'd want to store for longer periods of time. Will drink some of the wine soon, but don't expect there to be any issues. Not a big stress test at only 24F, but this one passed nonetheless.


"The greatest thing you'll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return."
 
Posts: 1897 | Registered: Feb 27, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I buy most of my wines from premier cru and have it shipped ground UPS. They really discourage shipping wine in warm weather but Iv'e never had any problem recieving wine in the winter even though it can reach 20 below zero here in Mpls. If it's packed in styrofoam it should be fine. Iv'e never had any problem in the winter.
 
Posts: 9424 | Location: minneapolis minnesota usa | Registered: Dec 17, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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