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My wife and I had a case of wine shipped from Napa overnight to our house via FedEX. The shipper did not notify us as asked, and we were not home to receive it yesterday. Unfortunately, the FedEX driver didn't leave a notice that they tried to attempt the delivery either until today when we received our supposed second notice (had FedEx let us know yesterday on the first attempt I could have picked it up on the way home and there would have been no issues).

My problem is, the temperatures have been around 107 degrees and that case has been riding around in the truck for two days unrefridgerated. It is possible tempts were over 110 in storage. Upon picking up the box today I noticed a bit of seapage from the caps/corks.

This was our first wine shipment and we both have seen a lot of information telling us that heat spoils a wine, so we are seriously concerned that shipment is ruined. These were fairly expensive bottles that we were planning on drinking over the next few years and not something I want to *have to* drink quickly because of the heat issue.

Anyone have a similar experience and how did the wine fair? What can we expect?

Thank you for any advice or experiences you can share.

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Chael, I've had a lot of wine delivered, by all of the shippers, and (knock on wood) have never had a shipment delivered 'cooked'. However, your noticing seepage is a real concern. I would want to open one bottle of the shipment (likely the worst) and taste the wine. IF it's indeed cooked, I'd contact FedEx and make a complaint regarding the lack of your first notification, explain the result of such a lack of communication, and request a method of reimbursment. Depending the results of this, I'd consider discussing the issue with the shipper. They may be willing to make some compensation as well. That all being said, most of any purchase I've had shipped was insured, and thus this would be your avenue of compensation.

All this to mention that this experiance is a lesson learned. DON'T have your wines shipped during hot weather (in fact most reputable retailers won't ship at this time unless you formaly agree to taking FULL responsibility). Hopefully all is well. Good luck.
Thank you for the reply.

We figured as much. I believe it was just my luck on the shippment - having the shipper forget the notification and having FedEX forget the delivery notice. Of course, this is the first of 4 cases coming, but the other three have already called to let me know the day they are shipping so I can be home the next day. That said, it is a lesson learned about shipping wines.

We did call the winery and they were concerned as well, so they will be calling back tomorrow with some options.

Thank you again for the advice.
Originally posted by Board-O:
You had wine shipped to Arizona this time of year? What were you thinking?

I was thirsty?

Actually, there are a few wines that are only released in June that we love, so we imagined having them shipped would not be too much of an issue using overnight and getting them the next day. Novice mistake I think. Just an expensive lesson.

I believe you were coming to Arizona soon and asking about dining. I replied in that thread.
So what are the real signs your wine has been cooked. Can you generally tell by a raised cork or seepage or is it a wait and taste generally? Also, Having never tasted some of the wines I have recently ordered when I taste them what will tell me it was cooked rather than say, I just don't like it, or it is corked? I understand corked wine often smells of mold, cooked wine is muted and sometimes often tasteless, is this in the ballpark?
but the other three have already called to let me know the day they are shipping so I can be home the next day.

I would not ship wine to Arizona in June. Period. On a 90° day it can reach over 125° inside a vehicle in a few minutes. Overnite makes zero difference if your wine is going to cook in a truck. Hold the shipments until fall!

An update for those interested:

Received a call from Darioush Winery that our shipment could be out on Monday evening and at my house Tuesday morning if I wanted. I was a bit hesitant (Trefethen already put a hold on my shipment until I call and let them know when I want it), but after talking to a few guys at local wine shops I gave them the go ahead to ship. The package had been cellared and was leaving Darioush with Styrofoam insulated packing (temp would be in the mid 50's internally at least). It went out at 400pm from Napa and arrived at my door at 11:00am. While the cellar temps are very cool at the winery, temps in Napa are around 85 during the day and I just checked outside and it is already 109 degrees in Arizona.

I hurried to open the box, hoping for the best, and I was pleasantly surprised when I took the top of the Styrofoam off and felt a bit of cool air. I checked the bottle temps and they were about 68 degrees for the case, and the three bottle container was around 72 degrees. Appoximate I would say since I was just using a thermometer laid against the bottle down in the foam case, but that should be about the ambient temp overall. For Arizona, that is good.

Darioush not only called last week to ask if I wanted to ship, but also sent out an email yesterday evening when the wine was picked up with the tracking number.

FYI - we opened the worst looking bottle on the first shipment and as we suspected it was cooked.

Now, while I am happy with the current shipment, I am still willing to hold off on most of my shipments until the cooler temps come around again. Most the wineries we talked to would be happy to cellar and ship the wines when conditions are better, so that is always something to keep in mind.

Thanks again for everyone's input.
Do not ship wine to Arizona in June. Ever. It's like playing Russian roulette, except with 5 of 6 chambers full. There are way too many things that can go wrong.

Why in God's name did you need to have this wine so soon so badly?

And it's not like you can't buy some wine at your local store for the summer. That's what I do when I have to - although if I was in Arizona I might have to re-think even that plan. Gotta be tough being a wine collector in the desert. Just losing power while you were away or something could kill a whole collection. Eek

Shipping is "closed for the season" anyway here.
Originally posted by PurpleHaze:
Why in God's name did you need to have this wine so soon so badly? Confused Confused Confused


I've said through the whole post, it was my first and last summer shipment. The Darioush needed to be here for a particular engagement, but even that commitment will be modified knowing that I need to plan ahead in Winter for Summer shipments.

Trefethen, Silver Oak, and Steltzner wines are on hold until later.

For everyone including Chael - Plan ahead!
Trefethen, Silver Oak, and Steltzner wines are on hold until later.

I bet you can find most of those locally, unless you really live in the middle of nowhere. Silver Oak is in almost any decently sized wine store. It's all over the place, unless you are looking for a special varietal that is not overly produced. The Cab is everywhere.

Steltzner can be found too, I would think. I can get it within a drive if I really looked for it.
I’ve often wondered why there has not been a method devised to ship wine during the warmer months. It seems that it would be possible to make a container that would have a pocket in which a piece of dry ice could be inserted and allow the entire internal temperature of the container to remain at an acceptable level. It would need to be designed so that the ice did not directly contact the bottle causing temperatures to become too cold which might crack the bottle or also damage the wine. Different types of food, even ice cream, are shipped across the country using dry ice – why not wine?
Originally posted by Altaholic:
I’ve often wondered why there has not been a method devised to ship wine during the warmer months.

There is an aritcle out there about shipping wine via UPS vs. FedEX. A gentleman that does a bunch of shipping compared several shipments and found that overall FedEX kept the wine cooler but a fair amount. That said, it seems to me that *any* shipping company that takes on perishable food or liquid would have some type of facility/packaging in place to assure the delivery. The styrofoam works well to insulate the wine in the carton when it is shipped cool/cold, but I've noticed that if heat does get inside that it also holds it in as well. Dry ice would seem a obvious choice, wouldn't it.

I have an idea for a wine container/cooler for shipping. I might have to investigate the possiblity/cost/profit there.

Hunter - The wine shipments I am getting right now are not available in stores (or readily available) - Steltzner, Luna, V. Satui, Mumm Pinot, and limited/local release varietals, so shipping is a necessary evil at some piont. Just better planning needs to be involved. Or better packing Wink

I'd get on the horn STAT to FedEx to see if you can hold the shipments at the FedEx hub, and go pick them up yourself, so they never get on the truck.

If the phone slap gives you static, run it up the chain of command until you get someone who will get it held for you. I did this a few weeks ago with a case of 2001 BdM and was glad I did.

Good luck!

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