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Protecting wine in a heat wave


#1

With much of the UK seeing temperatures hit the high 20s (and early 30s) this past week and no end in sight, I wanted to ask if anyone who doesn’t have a dedicated cellar/wine cabinet/fridge has done anything to protect their bottles?

I live in a flat in London and unfortunately the ambient temperature inside this past week has sat in the low 20s, with nowhere cooler to stash my collection (luckily, limited to a couple of dozen bottles).

Am I right to not be overly concerned about the long term health of my wine unless it starts to hit above 25 degrees indoors? Most of what I have will be drunk within a year or two, though there’s a couple of more special things I’d like to keep safe and healthy.

I know that this temperature is far from ideal but am I right in thinking that my wine won’t be cooked, presuming that the temperature does eventually come back down again?


#2

Having similar worries here. Our wine is in racks in an integrated garage: it’s the coolest part of the house and keeps the most consistent temperatures.

The temperature variation is seasonal rather than diurnal - down to single digits in the winter, pushing 20ish in the summer and in the low/mid teens for most of the year - but it’s been sorely tested in the last few months. The cold snap in March took it down to about 4 degrees, and last week it topped out at 24.

I’ve decided to let nature take its course. Despite the heat, the fluctuations are, I hope, gradual enough not to cause any catastrophic damage to the contents, although if this heatwave goes on much longer, I may have to make a sacrificial offering to Bacchus to save the wine. A goat, perhaps.

I’m planning on opening something posh once normal British-summer service is resumed - one I’m already familiar with - to see how it’s survived…or not.

Could really do with a spiral cellar or something, but I’m not sure if selling a kidney would be enough to cover it.


#3

@Herbster @adam I think that if your wine is in the dark/out-of-direct sunlight and doesn’t fluctuate wildly in temperature between day and night, then it should be OK - let’s consider that most, if not all shops, including supermarkets, selling wine are no better and often much worse in terms of light and even sunlight getting to the bottles than your domestic setups.

The only cost effective (but impractical) way to cool your wine would be to use the power of evaporation and wrap each bottle in a damp jay cloth or similar, renewing the water in each as they dry; would play havoc with the labels, I guess!

Now, if you were to cook suggested offering on a BBQ, we could all come round and ‘help’ you get rid of the problem in pretty short order - no wine, no worries!


#4

Perfect thread to post this … I’ve just gone in the garage and found this bottle leaking :cold_sweat:! Despite all the high temperature in the past week or so, it’s not been too hot in the North East and my garage is currently at 17C so I’m wondering why this is even happening and I guess I’m going to have to open it now …


#5

That’s very reassuring @VinoVeritas, and reminds me of wines I’ve kept in worse conditions which have turned out okay :+1:

This sounds like an excellent plan!


#6

I’m having the same issue… I tend to underestimate how hot it is and so only realised when I got the thermometer out a few days ago that my wine in the hall cupboard (usually the coolest bit of the house) is now being kept in daytime temperatures of 26c :scream:. Normally I keep most of my wine in storage off-site but just got back from France with a load of nice Vouvrays and Chinons and don’t want them to be subjected to a stint in a delivery van in this heat. So for now, the 15 or so priciest bottles are being stored in a big cool box (the type popular with people camping in the 90s) and the rest is just going to have to fend for itself…


#7

Oh no, @Leah, that’s crap :open_mouth:

Why on earth would it do that…? Is it something to do with the sugar content, or just rotten luck?


#8

That’s rubbish… Was it stored at very cold (e.g. food fridge) temperatures for a while ever?


#9

I’m panicking. I’m going to go and put a big tub of ice in the cellar tonight to see if it has any effect.


#10

Most likely in the colder months… its in the garage. I have a 260 btl wine fridge but its nearly full and the overflow goes in the garage or a smaller 24btl fridge. Do you think that’s caused it @Mooble?? I would imagine it got quite cold in the garage over the winter…


#11

@Herbster [quote=“Herbster, post:2, topic:3079”]
Could really do with a spiral cellar or something, but I’m not sure if selling a kidney would be enough to cover it.
[/quote]:wine_glass:

I don’t think 1 kidney would cover it!

I think you should be OK with the temperature as it has only been high for a couple of weeks after all. If this weather goes on for months then I would be more concerned.

More than happy to help out with any you want help disposing of :grinning::wine_glass::clinking_glasses:


#12

Yeah, me too. Not sure the neighbour downstairs will approve though…


#13

I think the combination of cold and low humidity could do it, though I doubt a garage in the North East is that low on humidity, so it’d probably have had to be in something very drying like an actual food fridge to do it. Maybe just poor quality cork - some can be really brittle regardless of storage.


#14

An excuse to open it and see if its drinkable then… oh well… someone’s got to do it :joy:


#15

Think of it as a sort of wine bottle “cry for help” and yourself as a good Samaritan putting it out of its misery. It may not help the taste but it might help you feel more virtuous about your good deed!


#16

Coincidentally this arrived in my inbox today…

With that discount it’s probably just an arm, a leg and one kidney!


#17

I tried to convince my dad to get a spiral cellar when he was remodelling his kitchen. He thought about it briefly but decided he’d rather spend £10k on fine wine instead :smile:


#18

I think the sixty-four pound (in my case) question is… If I bought half a dozen bottles to drink over the next few months, and I don’t have wine fridge or anywhere to put them, and the forecast is temperatures of 27 and up, which is the lesser evil:

  • Leave them in the bottom of the bookshelf as usual (dark, but ambient temp)
  • Put them in the actual fridge with the milk and cheese and whatnot

What is better, when you have no third option?


#19

Drink faster! There’s always a third option!


#20

I wouldn’t leave a bottle in the fridge for more than a few weeks… Fridges are really dehumidifying so can make corks brittle, or so I’ve heard. Go for the shelf!