Skip to content
Beckmen wine shipment

Why is my wine shipment delayed?

You ordered the per­fect wine, you’re look­ing for­ward to pop­ping that cork, and savor­ing the deli­cious bev­er­age inside. Or maybe you found an excel­lent win­ery, joined their wine club, and look for­ward to receiv­ing con­sis­tent ship­ments, deliv­ered straight to your doorstep. But, the win­ery tells you your order has been delayed due to weath­er. Frus­trat­ing, right? Think again.

Wine is a del­i­cate bev­er­age, and while you may not think of it as per­ish­able, it is. As soon as a wine is made, it is ever evolv­ing and sus­cep­ti­ble to what­ev­er con­di­tions it is stored in. Keep it in sta­ble, ide­al con­di­tions (a dry place with a con­stant tem­per­a­ture around 55°F) and you’ll be able to enjoy the wine, as the wine­mak­er intend­ed, 120+ years down the road. If a wine is sub­ject­ed to poor con­di­tions, even for just a cou­ple of hours, it can be irrev­o­ca­bly dam­aged. Will it still be drink­able? In some cas­es yes, in some cas­es no.

If a wine gets too warm, it will age faster than intend­ed and taste dif­fer­ent­ly than it’s sup­posed to. Put the wine in a hot car or truck above 75°F for a while (the exact length of time depends on the type of wine), and the wine will essen­tial­ly cook, result­ing in off fla­vors or aro­mas. Over time, this can turn the wine into vine­gar, and no one wants to drink vine­gar. Exces­sive heat can also dry out a cork, caus­ing the seal to fail, allow­ing air into the bot­tle, and oxi­diz­ing your wine.

If a wine gets too cold, the water con­tent in the wine will freeze. The liq­uid inside the bot­tle will expand, which can either cause the cork to push slight­ly out of the bot­tle, allow­ing air in and oxi­diz­ing the wine, or the extra pres­sure can crack the bot­tle itself. When the water con­tent freezes, tar­tar­ic crys­tals can form. These crys­tals are harm­less and nat­ur­al to the wine – they occur when the potas­si­um and tar­tar­ic acids in the wine bind togeth­er to form a crys­tal, sci­en­tif­i­cal­ly known as potas­si­um bitar­trate and bet­ter known in the cook­ing world as cream of tar­tar. Some wine­mak­ers do this inten­tion­al­ly dur­ing the wine­mak­ing process, a step called cold sta­bi­liza­tion, when they drop the wine’s tem­per­a­ture below freez­ing to pre­cip­i­tate out tar­trates before bot­tling the wine. Con­verse­ly, some wine­mak­ers, som­me­liers, and wine afi­ciona­dos like see­ing tar­tar­ic crys­tals, as it indi­cates the wine wasn’t over processed. Nev­er­the­less, see­ing glass-like shards in the bot­tom of a wine bot­tle can be off-putting, even if the wine’s fla­vor isn’t affected.

So, what do you do when your wine ship­ment is delayed due to weath­er? Be appre­cia­tive the win­ery is being cau­tious with YOUR wine. It might annoy you that your wine is delayed, but it would annoy you even more if your wine arrived at your doorstep dam­aged and undrink­able. Patience is the name of the game when order­ing wine dur­ing swel­ter­ing sum­mers or freez­ing winters.

All Posts

Posted In:

Wine 101