Bottle shock

Bottle shock: myth or reality?

Also called bottle sickness, bottle shock is the supposed effect on wine inflicted by shipping.

There are no definitive studies on what shipping does to wine, but unless you buy and drink at the winery, all wines have been shipped sometime. Your prized Bordeaux, your awesome Aussie Shiraz, your memorable malbec all likely did time in a cargo container, a warehouse, and a delivery truck.

Theory: jostling and temperature extremes in transit can’t be good. There is proof extended jostling and temperature fluctuations hurt wine, but what about a couple of days in the UPS pipeline?

As you might expect, local wine stores wail shipped wine arrives whipped and wanting.

As you might expect, on-line stores and wineries aver their bottles always arrive shipshape and deliciously drinkable.

There is anecdotal evidence the wine tastes better if you let it sit and settle for several days after the people in green have you sign for the adult-must-sign-for package.

Consider also when shipping occurs. Some wineries will not ship in high summer, aware it cannot be a good thing for their precious creations to simmer on a tarmac or cook in an idling delivery truck.

Experts who opine on this subject generally agree that, except in the most horrid of cases, your wine should be fine after two weeks of convalescence.

Wine likes cool and steady. When it is shipped, why take a chance? Give it some time to relax and get to know you before you plunge into its pleasures.


• Block 50 Shiraz Central Ranges 2007. Smooth, plenty of plum, spice, fruit; tame tannins; oaky, medium weight; Aussie shiraz value pour. $9

• Concha y Toro Casillero del Diablo Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 (10% carmenere). Bright cherry, plum, toasty oak; smooth tannins, medium body, big value from Chile’s big producer. $10

• Arroba Winery @ Edna Valley Pinot Noir 2008. Raspberry, cherry, cranberry; toasty oak, sweet vanilla; bright, feminine, spot on value. $18