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Transporting Wines by Car


ademello
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I have several different places in the US where I purchase wine and have them store it for me until I can pick it up. Well, the time has come for me to make the trip to pick them and I was wondering if anyone can advise on the most minimally damaging way for me to store them while in transit in the car. The trip home is about 15 hours on the highway. The wines are all Zinfandels, most of them semi-precious (to me) including a lovely stash of Turleys. I've always found that when you drink California wines outside of California, they seem to lose a lot of their fruit and zestiness. Please let me know if anyone has any experience to minimize the bruising of the wines.

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Turley Zinfandel wines and others fashioned in a similar style should survive the trip just fine. They are going to be sturdy, high alcohol, and not so delicate. I'd keep them inside the cab of the car and not the trunk. And I'd keep them out of direct sunlight (tossing a thick covering over the box should suffice.

The wines are going to get better treatment in your car than they do with some shipping companies.

We cannot employ the mind to advantage when we are filled with excessive food and drink - Cicero

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The wines are going to get better treatment in your car than they do with some shipping companies.

Good point.

I've often bubble wrapped individual bottles for clandestine trips back from far away places tucked into my luggage. They've all survived just fine.

As Brad pointed out - in the car, not the trunk, and presumably you'd have the AC on for your own comfort. Couldn't hurt the wine either although I don't think it's necessary to have your car at 55 degree "cellar temperature". :smile:

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The wines are going to get better treatment in your car than they do with some shipping companies.

Good point.

I've often bubble wrapped individual bottles for clandestine trips back from far away places tucked into my luggage. They've all survived just fine.

As Brad pointed out - in the car, not the trunk, and presumably you'd have the AC on for your own comfort. Couldn't hurt the wine either although I don't think it's necessary to have your car at 55 degree "cellar temperature". :smile:

i safely brought a lot of wine on a 7 day road-trip from los angeles to boulder, colorado last summer. a dedicated cooler with ice, back seat of air-conditioned car--did the trick.

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Sorry, the punt is just the bottom of the bottle. So, that would be 'cork up.' The reason for that is that the punt is much stronger than the neck of the bottle and so bottles travel better with their punt down. If you anticipate a smooth ride it may not be a necessary precaution, but we've seen wild things happen to bottles traveling neck down or on their sides--think potholes, speed bumps, accidentally dropping the case, blown tires, etc.

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I have a styrofoam case shipping container in my motorhome that I jokingly refer to as my wine cellar. It holds a case at cellar temp for 3 days while camping. Longer if you fill half with frozen water bottles. :biggrin:

Bruce Frigard

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Bruce - your "wine cellar" would make me a LOT more comfortable. Where can I get one?!

The winery might have some. Several retailers in the are will also have them.

We cannot employ the mind to advantage when we are filled with excessive food and drink - Cicero

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If you are coming to California to pick up your wines, I would advise going to a wine-specific shipping company and acquiring one of the styrofoam shippers that we use int he industry to ship wines. They will keep the bottles separate from each other and insulate them against a moderate amount of heat.

You didn't indicate how many bottles/cases you are talking about so these case boxes might not work as they do take up a lot of room.

When Shawn and I moved from SoCal to NoCal, we had dozens of them saved up in our garage from every shipment we had ever received. It ended up being a life saver even though we were only moving 500 miles.

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The ones I've seen are made by Unisource Packaging. You can find a list of Unisource distribution centers here: http://www.unisourcelink.com/locator/other...ace=otherunits3 They might be willing to sell you a few, though they probably usually work in large quantities. Although I think it would probably be easier to get one from a wine shop or winery. I'm sorry I've thrown so many of them in the garbage -- most wine I get in the mail comes in those containers -- otherwise I could give you like 20 of them.

If you're just driving, you won't likely have a problem with just keeping your wine on the back seat in cardboard wine cases -- or if you have a minivan your storage area is also air conditioned by default, which is nice. The issue arises mostly when you stop the vehicle, get out, and leave the wine inside as the temperature rises to 125 degrees in the passenger compartment. If that's going to happen, you need insulation, and your best bet in my opinion is a big plastic cooler like the ones they sell at Costco, big enough to store the bottles standing up, with ice packs wedged between and among them for stability. This environment might get a little humid, thus possibly affecting the labels, but it will surely protect your wine under even the worst of circumstances.

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I seem to remember reading an article a few months ago describing a piece of "research" done by some wine collectors in, I think, Sweden.

If I recall correctly, they stored bottles of decent red wine in a number of usual and unusual locations, and got together after a period of time to do a blind tasting. The ones exposed to heat (e.g, those stored in centrally heated houses) obviously came off badly. But the surprise of the story was that the bottles stored in car boots (i.e., trunks) and driven around tasted great - as good or better than the ones that were cellared.

Now the trouble is, I can't for the life of me remember where I read this. Could it have been on eGullet? Or possibly in the UK's Financial Times. I can't find anything on Google, nor would I want to actually try this with my own wine (especially not in the US in summer - where I imagine it's somewhat hotter than in Sweden). Still, a fun story. :smile:

Edited by Stigand (log)
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Thanks for all your help guys - I have a total of 3 cases of wine that I need to ship back. I think I'll try to replicate Bruce's "wine cellar." My first pickup is in Chicago but I eventually need to get all my stuff in California back home to Montreal, hopefully without running afoul of our customs agents.

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