Next week, I'm taking a road trip from Los Angeles and spending a few days in Napa, where I'm sure I'll buy a few bottles. What precautions should be taken to ensure that the wines don't cook before I get them back home? I assume I should take them into the hotel room and not leave them in the car. Would it be advisable to keep them in a cooler with ice duirng the longer parts of the trip?
Thanks for any tips.
Cooler is necessary in the summer. Remember to crack your windows down and to try and park in the shade. If it's not that many bottles (like 3 or 4). I'd advise taking them out and carry them with you at each winery. In the heat, all the wineries will understand.
The issue isn't going to be your drive from Napa back to Los Angeles. Presumably, if it is hot you'll have the AC on while you're driving so they are probably ok just in a case box not exposed to sunlight on the drive to Los Angeles. Your issue is buying wine at multiple wineries and leaving them in the car during the day. Most wineries will be fine if you ask to leave your purchase there and pick it up at the end of the day. That's a good option if it's only adding one or two stops at the end of the day and assuming that they aren't out of the way wineries. Otherwise you should keep a cooler with some ice in it in your car. You don't need or even want a lot of ice -- you aren't trying to cool the wine just trying to keep it from getting hot. And yes, at night you'll want to bring the wine into the hotel room.
Something like the Wine Check might be handy here.
It's designed to allow people to fly with wine in airplanes. But the way it works is that the wine is stored in styrofoam, which is a good insulator. It's not going to replace an ice chest for keeping wine cool, but it could keep wine from getting hot in a car trunk.
Of course, a styofoam shipping box would do the same thing. But i'm just tossing it out there as an option.