Bottle Shock Question

Reading about the way Mark Neal likes to vigorously shake a young bottle to decant, it got me wondering about "bottle shock" and what the science is behind it. I've never opened a bottle soon after a delivery, so I don't know what, exactly, the effect of "bottle shock" would be or why it would take place. Who can help?
Original Post
There is no science, as far as I'm aware, regarding bottle or travel shock. It's a belief that's held by some and not by others.

Basically what the believers will tell you is that if you open a wine shortly after a long journey or just after it's been bottled that it will taste disjointed, and that if you leave it for a week or two the wine will come back into balance.
During the process of bottling a wine it's squirted into the bottle and gets exposed to air. It may also have been very recently filtered. Though there is some debate about it, there are plenty of winemakers who claim that the wine gets "shocked" and doesn't taste as good during the following weeks. Personally I'm prepared to give it some credence though I haven't done any significant research.
As Dave mentioned, if the wine has just been bottled, it could have possibly just gone through filtration. It may also have been pumped several times: barrel to tank, tank to tank, tank to bottling line, etc. It also may have gotten a final dose of SO2. Bottling shock is real. Travel shock is perhaps prudent. What is the rush?
Not true! I was going to open a bottle of J. J. Christoffel Urziger Wurtzgarten Riesling Auslese***, but then I remembered your teachings and realized that only a total rube would open this fantastic age-worthy Riesling so young. Let alone open several of them! Right? Did I "get it"??? Eek
To get back on thread, the question was about bottle shock, not infanticide.

To me, the belief in the existence of "bottle shock" is like believing in UFO's. Some believe, others don't, and so far no one has proven or disproven its existence. Decide whatever you want to believe, and keep an open mind.

If someone really wanted to test the theory, it could be put to a well designed experiment, but the results would be of only marginal importance. Even if you proved that bottle shock exists (or doesn't exist) with the wine that was tested, everyone would still argue whether the results can or can not be extrapolated to the myriad of other wines out there in the marketplace.

My personal belief is that it probably does not exist for most wines, but may exist for some.

Originally posted by TomNYC:
Damn. I thought I had it. I get the first point. But, how do you know the 2nd and 3rd points prior to opening this infant and trying it? I'm just trying to learn.

Geez. I never realized what a novice you are.

Q: How do you know a Christoffel *** Auslese is sweet?

A: They all are. Every one.

Q: How do you know a Christoffel *** Auslese is balanced?

A: They all are. Every one. That's why they have the ***.

Q: How do you know a 2 year old Christoffel *** Auslese isn't closed?

A: They never are.

Just trying to help the beginner. Someday you ought to try one of these.
Originally posted by TomNYC:
Thanks....I truly appreciate the teachings. So we should all pop open all of our age-worthy German Reislings right away. Got it. Thanks for your help. Razz

Geez, you are dense! Where did I say to pop open all of them? Nowhere. You're hopeless. If you could comprehend the written word, something probably could be done, but alas, that's not the case. Pitiful. Roll Eyes
Damn! I thought I had it that time. Pardon my ignorance. I appreciate your obvious patience and understanding. Thank you so much for allowing me to learn from your immense experience. Your thoughtful responses will not be forgotten.

So, I should open some infants, but not all, unless they have tannins, in which case I should open none of them, unless they are, um, less than a certain level of, um....wait....what? Help me, oh great one. Help me to understand!

(by the way, rube, how long are you gonna let me string you along on this thread?)
I am travelling tomorrow by air to spend the holidays in a destination where it is difficult to find decent wines. I am packing a case in one of those travel shipping boxes so it will be checked luggage. I am not taking anything older than 2006 so there should not be a lot of sediment in these bottles. Three whites, the remainders all red with nothing truly expensive.

For how long would you let the wines "rest/settle" after arrival? Do you believe in or have experienced travel shock?

Randy Sloan nails it in post #7. Bottle shock occurs at the time of bottling, it's real, and there is science behind it (exposure to oxygen and SO2). My fuzzy recollection is that it lasts a few weeks to months, but wont be encountered by consumers unless wineries ship immediately after bottling. I think I've seen what might be considered a longer lasting variant of bottle shock in a few highly-sulfited German wines.

Travel shock is different. It probably affects older wines with sediment but may be a myth with little/no science behind it other than speculation for younger wines.

From a practical perspective, I wouldn't hesitate to open a young wine immediately after travel or shipping if it was needed for a tasting, but I rarely find myself in that situation. I try to avoid bringing old wines with sediment to tastings if it involves a plane ride and less than a few days for them to settle down. Shipping a week or two ahead would be a better choice in that case.

Then again, if it's a Mollydooker, you can ignore all of the above and just put it in a blender before serving... Big Grin

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