Let me say this loud and clear, Storage is the single most important thing you can do preventing damage to a bottle of wine. Some still don’t get it, and I’m not talking only of the retail customer, I’m talking of the wholesaler, distributor, retail shop and restaurant.

I have been lucky enough to fly all over this Country, and many places in the World and can’t tell you how disappointing it is to taste a bottle of wine you are fond of only to find it D.O.A.. I was in Hawaii recently, ordered a bottle of my wine, and it was just delivered the day before by the distributor. The wine was dead, I only found out then that the storage they had was not temperature controlled. I ordered a bottle of expensive Italian wine in Shanghai China, Again Dead. I almost can forgive an up and coming region of this savage treatment, but here in the U.S., Come on?

Let me give you some suggestions that may or may not help. If you think a bottle of wine is as important as the food you’re eating with it, then demand storage. If I walk into a restaurant and order a bottle of wine I demand to feel it before it’s open. If it’s warm, I refuse it, simple as that. If the food is too good to stop dinning there then I bring a bottle with me. If they won’t let you then move on! If I walk into a wine shop and things are not air conditioned in the summer or too hot from heaters in the winter, I move on. You see we store our wines at 55 degrees before they go to Market. We are very careful with your investment while it’s still in our care and expect others to do the same. The truth is we’re naive, and expecting people to invest in the equipment necessary to store wine properly is a stretch at best. You need to hold them accountable. I ask you this, would you eat eggs that were not refrigerated, Milk, Meat, Fish, Vegetables. Then why do you accept wine that’s not stored properly. Wine is a perishable item, no difference, and your cost at a restaurant is, in many cases the biggest financial part of the meal. Same if you buy it at a retail shop and bring it home. I don’t expect all restaurants or wine stores to keep wine at 55 degrees but is it asking too much for 65 degrees.

Like many winerys we have had people return bottles that if consumed from a proper cellar would be great. However, since somewhere in its life it was mistreated the wine has suffered significantly. For experiment sake I give you this suggestion. Take any bottle of wine, open another identical bottle and drink half of each bottle. Put a cork in both, and put one in the refrigerator, and leave one out on the counter. Check both the next day, and the day after, then see what you get. In fact the only way I store a bottle of wine that was open is to put it into a very cold refrigerator. Using gas and the pumping of air out of the bottle won’t work very well. Gimmicks cannot replace a very cool non freezing place for your wine.

It’s high time we grasp the obvious. Wine is Food and should be treated as such. It will spoil if not taken care of and you should demand of your wineries, retailers, and wholesalers the same. I cannot imagine paying $5.00 for spoiled produce yet many of you are paying $50.00, $100.00 and more for a spoiled bottle of wine.

Rest in peace if you choose!

Greg Linn

1 Comment

  1. Chris Koyste on October 2, 2012 at 7:15 am

    Hi Greg. Your article shares my mantra about wine storage, as it is part of what I look for before I ever buy any wine. You raise the point exactly as it should be raised, as wine is a perishable commodity and absolutely requires to be handled in a temperature controlled environment. The only way to hold people accountable is to do business with the companies that “do it right”, and ignore the businesses that do it wrong. A wine producer could have as part of their contract with a wholesaler a provision requiring proper temperature controlled transportation of the wine at pick up, and storage of the wine while being stored. It would be rational for any producer to require this, as the producer’s “brand” will be negatively affected by improperly stored wines by the wholesaler. Additionally, inspection of and proof of the vehicles used in transport AND the storage conditions allow a producer to be sure that their product is being inventoried pursuant to the terms of the contract. If more producer’s required this, then it would become the industry standard without the need of troublesome regulation.

    A side note is other than DOA, there is the problem of NHIST….. not how it should taste. A wine is NHIST because it was not cellared/stored properly, and this syndrome is more often encountered than DOA. NHIST is a wine that is certainly not bad, could be quite good to one’s palate, but has lost “something” or is more advanced due to improper storage. A wine maturing more rapidly could at times be an unintended positive, but the down side of that is if one buys a NHIST and does not open it up until years later, then it very well could be a DOA. This is why if I am planning on or have bought multiple bottles of a wine in which there is some degree of doubt as to how it is cellared, I try a bottle to get a foundational understanding of where it is at in its evolution.

    In any event, everyone in the industry as well as the customers needs to insist on demanding quality storage and cellaring.

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