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The Best Wine Shopping Tips

Last week here on the blog, we talked about different approaches to wine shopping, including budgeting and getting the best pricing whenever and wherever you shop.

And most importantly, we talked about how your wine salesperson is your best bet for getting the most out of your wine shopping experience.

But once you’ve purchased your wine, it’s also important to be mindful of how you transport and store the wine once you leave the store.

Sadly, many wine shoppers damage their wines after they leave the store by not caring for them properly.

The number one threat is exposure to extreme temperature.

Extreme hot and extreme cold are a wine’s worst enemy.

On a warm summer’s day, it doesn’t take much, for example, for a car to heat up to the point where it can harm the wine.

And likewise, in a state like Colorado, where temperatures can drop suddenly with the arrival of a unforeseen snowstorm, the cold can also adversely affect the “fitness” of the wine.

A number-one rule-of-thumb is never store the wine in the trunk of your car. The trunk is always going to the warmest or coldest part of the car in extreme weather. And say you stop, after picking up your wine, to run another errand, it’s only going to warmer or cooler in the trunk as time passes.

But you also need to be mindful of keeping the wine protected from sunlight. Even on a cold day, direct sunlight can warm the darkly colored glass of a wine bottle very quickly.

When it comes to wine shopping, your best bet is to make your stop at the wine store your last of the day and/or make a trip expressly to purchase and take your wine home.

Once you get it home, be sure to store it in a cool place that isn’t exposed to sunlight. There’s no need to store the wine on its side, unless you’re planning to cellar for the long term (we’ll talk about that in a future post). Upright is fine for youthful, early-drinking wines. But they need to be protected from extreme temperature and sunlight.

And lastly, even though there’s really no hard data to back this up, there’s a lot to be said for letting your wine rest before you serve it.

Wine doesn’t like to be expedited. In other words, it doesn’t like to be hurried. And sometimes, even the trip home from the store can cause a phenomenon known in the trade as “bottle shock.” Say, for example, you travel a bumpy road on your way home from the store. The wine will surely benefit from some time just sitting still. Again, there’s no scientific evidence of this. But ask any wine trade veteran and they will tell you the same thing: wine likes to rest before it’s served.

This doesn’t mean that you’re not going to enjoy the wine if you open it as soon as you walk in the door on your way home from the wine shop.

It just means that when you allow the wine to settle for a day or so, it’s likely that it will more fully express its character, aroma, and flavors when it is opened and served.

Next week we’ll tackle the thorny subject of serving temperatures.

Thanks for being here!

Jeremy Parzen
follow Jeremy @DoBianchi