Now that wine, brewery and distillery tours are back and the summer heat has finally returned, it’s a good time for a critical reminder—don’t cook your newly bought beverages in your car.
I once ruined an excellent red wine, a gift for a friend, by leaving it in my trunk for just a little while, thinking it would be OK. It was under a screwcap, so no cork to dry out, under a layer of “protective” clothing, and it was a warm spring day in Vancouver, not a scorcher in the Okanagan. Nothing extreme to worry about, I thought but as we all know, a warm day outside can make a car stifling hot in mere minutes. That heat can damage your purchases faster than a good bartender can make a martini.
If you’re finally getting out there to visit and support local producers, plan ahead for the rising temperatures.
Consider a tour company. Not only is it safer if you’re tasting and no one misses out on the experience and has to be the designated driver, tour companies may be able to keep the air conditioning on while you’re in a tasting room or have other ways of keeping the van or bus cool.
If you’re making a larger purchase, ask about shipping. Wineries, for example, may waive shipping fees on a minimum number of bottles and they use companies that are well-versed in climate control and the handling of perishables.
Driving yourself (and a few friends)? Pack along a cooler or an insulated bag to keep the heat off of your bottles or cans. Ice packs are also way better than ice itself, as that melts, causes a mess and will damage the labels on the bottles. The gel version of ice packs should do the trick.
No matter what you’ve put your purchases in, avoid the trunk of your vehicle. Yes, it’s dark but there’s no airflow or air conditioning. You may hop into a hot car and crank the air conditioning up but the cool air is probably not reaching the case of wine you’ve had in your vehicle’s trunk all day.
Even if I have a short drive, if the sun is at full tilt I put bottles on the floor of my car – in a box or bag so they don’t roll around – and point the air conditioning down, even for a few minutes.
And one last tip, be careful not to shock your purchases if they have be warmed by chilling them too quickly.
Enjoy your purchases once you’re home and they are safely put away.
This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.