Wine Temperature: How to protect your wines from shipping damage

We all know that wine is a delicate product that needs to be handled with care. Temperature shocks or contrasts can affect the taste, aroma and overall quality. This is why it's important to understand the causes that might alter wine quality and how to mitigate them. 

For example, prolonged heat exposure can result in accelerated development (premature ageing), color change, and loss of acidity, freshness or zestiness. While prolonged exposure to extreme cold conditions can lead to tartaric crystal precipitation and package or closure damage if freezing occurs.

The good news is that there are ways to prevent extreme temperatures from ruining the quality of your wine so it gets from point A to point B in the best possible condition.

But first, let's take a closer look at how wine temperature can affect your product.


wine temperature implications


The importance of wine temperature during shipping

The ideal temperature to ship wine is between +10°C to 20°C (+50°F to 68°F). This is what we call the "wine comfort zone." Any exposure to temperatures outside this range can cause wine spoilage and affect quality.



The dangers of shipping wine at the wrong temperature

By now, you know that extreme temperatures and shipping don't mix. But what exactly happens to wine when it's exposed to extreme heat or cold for a prolonged time?

Possible damage due to prolonged high temperatures exposure

When wine is exposed to temperatures higher than 70°F during a prolonged time, the chemical structure of the wine changes. 

Prolonged heat exposure can result in accelerated development (premature ageing) and loss of free sulphur dioxide. It can also change wine color and cause an increase in browning. 

A heat-damaged wine can taste unpleasantly sour, without freshness and flat on the palate. And more than that, ageability will decline noticeably.

Possible damage due to prolonged cold temperatures exposure

Prolonged exposure to cold temperatures can have equally damaging consequences for wines.

Between +5°C to 10°C (41°F to 50°F) wines can suffer tartaric precipitation — even tannic — and other components might fade. Below this temperature, wine corks might be pushed out and the bottle can break. Depending on the alcohol content, wine freezes at around -7ºC to -10ºC (19.4°F to 14 °F). 

Additionally, the sensory character of the wine will be impacted as well, with a loss of acidity and freshness.

Temperature fluctuation, constant extremes (heat or freezing) can result in significant volume expansion of the wine, which affects the closure and glass resulting in breakage or leakage. As a consequence, some wines are damaged before they even reach their destination. 

This can easily be avoided by anticipating the risks and ensuring proper protection in the containers during transport and storage.

How to make sure your wines arrive in optimum condition

Wine shipping is a complex process that requires careful planning and execution.

By understanding the potential risks associated with extreme temperatures and taking steps to avoid them, you can rest assured your wines will arrive safely and in pristine condition. 

Hillebrand offers a variety of risk management solutions that can help you ship your wine with confidence. Using highly accurate climate predictions accurate climate predictions from the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), we can analyze your planned route in detail and identify any potential risks along the way. 

Hillebrand also offers a range of solutions to protect your wine from extreme temperatures during shipping. Our VinLiner insulation, which is available for cases, pallets or containers, is specifically designed to protect wine from temperature fluctuations and offers superior protection for your goods.

We also offer storage solutions so you can store your wines safely before shipping if needed.  

For more information about our wine shipping solutions, contact us today. We would be happy to discuss your specific needs and provide you with a customized quote.

Speak to a member of your local Hillebrand team