jamie goode's wine blog

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

London is sunny and hot. It has been for as long as I can remember (which is about a week back...) - which means that we are in the midst of a heatwave. Today the temperature is supposed to be 34 centigrade (that's 93 in the old currency). I like this sort of weather, but wine doesn't. All over London, bottles will be quietly bubbling away in non-airconditioned wine shops. The way wine is treated through the supply chain is nothing short of appalling. Usually it's not a huge issue in the UK because the ambient temperature doesn't get too high and doesn't swing too rapidly, but in summers like this and 2003, I reckon a huge amount of wine will have sustained heat damage. Pictured is Marylebone High Street a few minutes ago.


At 7:16 PM, Blogger g58 said...

I've heard that ageing wine in conditions much higher than room temperature will excelerate the process and in an uneven way. So that's certainly not good for the wine you are holding out for. But what about those rapid swings in temperature? Moving it from refrigeration to room temperature and back again -- any real problem which that? I heard freezing is no problem if the container can handle it.

Before I got my trusty wine storage unit, I did the old in-and-out of the fridge to avoid leaving special bottles lying around in 34-degree heat. Hope that helped more than hindered...

At 6:25 AM, Anonymous Keith Prothero said...

Still no scientific study as far as I am aware of the effects of heat,or perhaps more importantly,temperature variation on wine.
Perhaps,a subject for your next book?

At 10:31 AM, Anonymous Shon said...

I have an Aberfeldy Shiraz, a Domaine la Charbonniere and a Trimbach Riesling (birthday presents, I hasten to add) sitting in a corner of my humid flat waiting to be transported to my cellar, which I may not get around to doing for a while. In the meantime, would it be an idea to put them in my fridge, or just on their sides in a dark cupboard? I don't feel comfortable leaving them where they are.

At 9:25 PM, Blogger GollyGumDrops said...

Not good news for wine in my kitchen, but what about vines in Kent?

At 10:34 AM, Blogger Jamie said...

Rapid swings are bad - there are two ways for oxygen to get into the wine via the closure - one is diffusion through the closure (dependent on conc differences of O2), the second is permeation (bulk flow, dependent on pressure differences). Change in temp changes pressure so the risk is there will be O2 permeation.

Keuth, you are right - but if I were a betting man I'd wager a bottle from a cool cellar will be better than one stored at room temperature or higher. It's such an important subject we do need some work on it.

Shon - keep them on their sides, whatever you do - corks in upright bottles allow much more oxygen transmission (this is what the studies show).

golly - great news for vines, this weather. Mine are loving it.

At 4:52 PM, Anonymous Stephen Alley said...


I see what you mean about rapid changes. Under rapid heating, the pressure builds up inside the bottle and gas is pushed out. Upon cooling, gas and O2 must return through the cork. If this happens on a daily basis, this could lead to premature oxidation. Essentially it is the cooling that sucks the O2 in.

How does the fill level, affect this do you think? Surely if the air gap is small, the pressure buildup will be larger.

Also, what is the interaction of the liquid with the cork? And how does liquid escape through the cork, is it carried as water vapour through the cork?


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