How a journey can destroy wine in just a few days
In a container left under the summer sun the temperature can reach 75°C, it goes below 30-35°C only once in the hold of the ship. In the winter on the port dock it goes down to -15°C
Read for you by Donatella Cinelli Colombini
A wine tasting organized by Professor Gerbi from the Università di Torino had demonstrated how easy it was to distinguish an Asti Spumante transported at 22°C from that which is kept in the cellar. Let’s consider the wine that is held in a container on the port docks or at sea with the sun scolding the iron sheets and 75°C inside, like an oven! Yet there are importers, who to save some cents ,avoid using temperature controlled containers, paying supplements to have their containers put in the hold or to use thermal coverings which however reduce the temperature even though only by 10-15°C. What a shame! Years of work in the vineyard and in the cellar ruined in a few days and then after delivery the wine gets contested because the wine is brown, and the aroma was of cooked fruit typical faults because of oxidisation. Of course the wine has defects after having been treated in such a way and it’s a miracle that the bottles do not uncork!
The few studies on this subject are summarized in an article by Alessandra Biondi Bartolini in the magazine “Mille Vigne” with plenty of information and references also regarding low
temperatures. In the winter a careless transport of the wine causes opposite effects, which though are just as devastative. The worst danger is on the docks, in trucks or in storerooms where the temperatures goes below -15°C very close to freezing. The importer should not be surprised if in the bottle there are protein or tartar precipitations. It is carelessness that causes them.
Sometimes producers prevent the effects of a traumatic journey though treatments such as stabilisation, filtering, fining which however damage the quality of the wine, but in most cases, avoid contestations.
But how does one avoid that transportation or careless conservation destroy wine? First of all one must avoid shipping in the middle of summer or winter as is imposed by LCBO – Liquor Control Board of Ontario – which also imposes the use of temperature controller containers for luxury wines
Then there is a spy. As the bottles cannot speak there is a “datalogger” which registers the temperature and reveals dangerous situations. There is a France-Usa project called eProvenience regarding this problem, why does our Government not follow suit?