Posts made in March 2018

Acts of God and Your Wine Shipments

In the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, and the catastrophic damage caused by the flooding and power outages, left many shipments of wine suffering reprehensible damage. Importers/ distributors warehouse’s and container ships out of the Port of Houston were all affected. Economic impact will be in the billions of dollars in infrastructure restoration and reform, plus not to mention the viability in commerce, and the disruption of traditional trade routes and employee impact.
It is true that insurance carriers carry the clause of “Acts of God” in their policy riders; but many factors can contribute to costly recovery of damaged inventory. In a scenario such as this, insurance carriers have to contend with being able to quickly assess the damage, which can be extremely difficult and dangerous in the first few days following such an event. With wide spread power outages, coupled with the hot Texas heat in August, the first factor affecting any wine would be heat damage. Secondly, water damage will destroy wine labels and thirdly, the impact of water flow at a high volume with certainly affect wine quality and can cause uncontrollable breakage in a warehouse environment.
Large distributor warehouses should have back up generators in advance of such an event. Container ships approaching the Port-of-Call will almost certainly be redirected to another port, but the ships already at berth could sustain substantial damage.

Grapes and wine

What’s In Your Cellar?

You don’t have to be a connoisseur to enjoy wine; however there are a few rules to follow to ensure your wine doesn’t have a shortened life or turn into a hideous rendition of grape juice and vinegar. We can all save ourselves from the bad wine experience by taking some precautionary measures to ensure the wines will survive their long term stay with us.
If one does not have a temperature controlled unit, the easiest and least expensive route is to store the wines in their case, with the bottles lying on their sides, on the floor of a closet, in the coolest room in the house (usually a North facing room). Since the bottles are on their side, the corks will remain moist and won’t dry out or allow air to get in, which will result in an oxidized wine. Furthermore, the wines will not be exposed to sunlight or vibration while they patiently wait for their retrieval.
Another option is a small to medium-sized temperature controlled unit. These are available in a 12, 24 or 36 bottle capacity, or you can go for the 500 to 2500 bottle unit that not only control temperature, but also maintain a constant 70 percent humidity level. Your wines will age more gracefully at the optimum temperature of 55 degrees. Keep in mind that your refrigerator is usually kept at 40 to 45 degree range; this can have a draining effect on your wines’ youthfulness, especially sparkling wines.
We also must take into consideration that 95 percent of all the wines produced in the world today are meant to be consumed young (within two to four years from vintage date). For those of us who invest in those top five percent of collectable wines, these should come from the greatest producers and in the best vintages. It is imperative that the wines be stored correctly to prevent a loss of quality and investment dollars.
Remember this equation: Heat + Vibration + Sunlight = Spoiled Wine.

Person watching plane take off

Inflight Rose’ and Pinot Noir

Rose’s do not travel well. Although, Rose’ is a great food wine if they are fresh, and I mean a year from vintage. But they don’t travel well so serve them on the way back; give them something to remember with a nice Mediterranean flare. Furthermore, Mediterranean blush wines that are a traditional dry in style make them poor travelers in a pressurized environment. The soft, subtle and delicate aromas of rose’s are so suppressed at this altitude that they are undistinguishable from any other lightly flavored taste. Once they take flight, they never recover. I would advise against your client bringing back a case of really tasty Provence Rose’ for their personal cellar, as it would most likely not survive the trip. Extremely versatile with many foods, especially sushi, herb salads and brie cheese.
Pinot Noir / Bourgogne is another example of a wine that doesn’t travel as well in the air. Extreme care should be considered for all Bourgogne 1er Cru & Grand Cru in transit, and they need to rest for a couple of months to get over travel shock. FBO should have adequate refrigeration capabilities. After all, we can’t let the wine cook. If opened, preserve that great wine for the second leg of the road trip with a dosage of inert gas or Vacu Vin, it will be appreciated by the client.
Pinot Noir, from the Cote du Nuits, the Marlborough district of New Zealand, the coastal hills of Santa Rita of California, and the Willamette Valley of Oregon; all should be cellared and lay to rest for at least 3 months after landing. Let those seductive components get their collective-heads together. Furthermore, it tends to get scrambled from the cabin pressure and doesn’t show well at all at 40,000 feet. Regardless of what Hollywood movies show you.