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Jul 7, 2009 11:01 AM

Travel Shock?

With the growth of online wine buying and overnight shipping, has anyone experienced bottles with 'travel shock'.
Also are some varieties more susceptible to this phenomenon or is it a random - stuff happens type thing?
I rec'v fairly regular shipments of wine for use in our videos, and we sometimes (most times) don't have the luxury of waiting 2-3 weeks for the bottle to relax.


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  1. If wine for use in videos is purely visual (and maybe it isn't), help me understand the travel shock concern.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Brad Ballinger

      Yes you are right that the visual is 90% of what we need... but we usually get 3 bottles one to evaluate the wine and run a test recipe that the office tastes. One for the actual video, and again we don't waste food so the crew eats it / drinks the part bottle not used. 3rd bottle is in case we completely get it wrong on one of the other tries.

      So the wine still needs to be drinkable; I suppose if we threw out all the food we cooked and never tasted it to test the recipes, it wouldn't matter.


      1. re: legourmettv

        I'm also guessing that whatever you can procure locally isn't up to snuff, and you, therefore, feel the need to have something better shipped in.

        Okay. Then just answering you question about certain wines or varietals that are more "delicate" when it comes to shipping... Champagne needs time to recover from shipping. So do pinot noir based wines, especially Burgundy. Older vintage wines are also in a more delicate state than wines that have just been released. Other than that it is sort of a crap shoot depending on the individual producers.

    2. Travel shock is real. I've done taste comparisons between a newly delivered bottle and the same wine taken from my cellar. It's like the newly delivered wine is in a mini dumb phase. It certainly is diminished in both flavor and aromas.

      You would describe the wine differently, appreciate it more, and pair it differently if you could allow the wine to settle after shipping. All that will influence the video you make. Plan ahead if you can.

      3 Replies
      1. re: maria lorraine

        To date, I have not encountered wines to do an A-B, but do appreciate your comments. I will attempt to duplicate same, and will report what I find.

        As always, thank you for the input. It is greatly valued.


        PS what's your July/August looking like. I got my DC invite last week, but we will be across the country for most of the Open Houses. Do you need anything?


        1. re: Bill Hunt

          Around in August...will reply re: DC via email.

          1. re: maria lorraine

            Cool. Always great hearing from you. We are on a retreat on the dates of the "Open House," once again. If you need something, you know where to turn.

            We'll be in SF later in the Fall, and we need to get togher. Missed our last SF trip, due to scheduling problems.


      2. To my knowledge, I have not experience such with any whites. The closest that I have observed is with some older reds, where the lees get stirred up quite a bit. Still, as we are able to relax these for a bit (several days), and then decant, it is not noticeable.

        It's kinda' like the server swinging the bottle of '87 Latour, as he/she arrives at the table.

        My greater concern is with the shipping heat to AZ, in all but very late Fall, through early Spring. I've tapped into some reds that arrived in hotter months, just to make sure that they were not heat damaged (Maderized). Even with out extreme heat, I've not lost any, and plead with shippers to NOT ship but in the dead of our Winter. A few distended corks/capsules, and a tiny bit of leakage, but none has been noticeablly damaged - to date. Still, that is my main concern, and I work hard to eliminate it.

        Good luck, and where can we tune in?

        I've been approached by a local producer to do a wine show, but have yet to put the details together. He wants to start local, but has some backers to go to a broader market.


        2 Replies
        1. re: Bill Hunt

          Hi Bill.

          I can't give you the web address... don't want to break the rules. But if you follow my signature to my profile, the link is there.


          1. re: legourmettv

            Thank you. Will follow these. Since I have not been able to do true A-B comparissons, I cannot offer anything but anecdotal evidence.



        2. I believe it's real. I've experienced it with pinot noir, especially on the nose.
          On the other hand, I had a Chateuneuf-du-pape that was pretty much put through the kind of shaking you see when they mix paint. Had to open it and it tasted fine. So it's hard to predict.

          6 Replies
          1. re: SteveTimko

            Funny, I've experienced travel shock pretty consistently with CdP bottles. Two weeks after coming up from the south, the second bottle is significantly more expressive than the bottle opened one or two days after the trip in the TGV. It's not that the first wasn't quite nice, mind you, just a bit closed.

            1. re: tmso

              On a slight tangent here, I have a storage question concerning pinot noir. I have a wine rack above my fridge, and wonder if I should be concerned about the very slight vibration caused by the motor. You can feel it, barely, if you touch the rack. There are a couple of fancy Oregon pinots up there, and this thread is getting me worried.

              Also, I brought home another pinot from Oregon two days ago (cross-country flight). It's resting in the cool basement. Could I get away with drinking it, say, this coming Friday/Saturday?

              1. re: comestible

                There's been long debates on the Mark Squires Wine Board about the vibration caused by refrigerator motors. I don't know there's been anything conclusive.
                I'd wait on the Oregon pinot.

                1. re: comestible

                  The top of a refrigerator is warm. That's why we put bread dough there to rise.

                  1. re: comestible

                    I'd be more concerned about the heat generated from the refrigerator that settles on top than those vibrations. All in all, the kitchen is NOT a good place to store wine unless it is in a wine fridge. The kitchen has a greater flux of temperatures than any other room of your house. Those temp swings are never good for any wine.

                    1. re: ChefJune

                      Yep, the fridge top does concern me for a number of reasons. The top does not get very warm, and the rack stands on legs. But there are better places, and in fact most of our wine is in the basement. I can't remember why the pinots ended up upstairs, but I'll move them back down.

              2. I have a lot of wine sent to me from California to here in DC (mostly allocation list wines) and have always found that it is better to let them rest for a few weeks if at all possible. They are awful as soon as they arrive, just a little "dumb" and disjointed.

                1 Reply
                1. re: dinwiddie


                  That's what I thought, but I needed just a little back up.