Bad Wine: Signs of Heat Damage


About a month ago, there was a local heat wave that was in full force just as I was having a bottle of white wine shipped to me. I know UPS is supposed to be fast, but in this case, unfortunately, they just weren’t fast enough! As a result, the bottle arrived HOT – not very warmHOT. I was positive the wine was toast. At this point, I wasn’t sure what to do with the bottle, or how to revive it. An array of options cluttered my brain. Should I stick it in the freezer, let it cool naturally, drink immediately, or just call it a day and throw the bottle away? That’s when I received some excellent tips on how to revive the bottle from my winemaker friend. Here’s what he suggested:

How to Revive a Hot Bottle of Wine

Location: Store in a dark location for 1 month

Temperature: Should be cool (70 degrees)

Environment: Quiet and still

I carefully followed his instructions, but nothing could rescue this poor bottle. After waiting a very long month, it was finally time to open the wine and see if the experiment worked. I quickly found evidence that the bottle had in fact been damaged by heat, or oxidation. In this case, there was no rescuing the bottle (remember it was almost at the boiling point when I received it). However, I do think his tips would be worth a try if the situation wasn’t quite so extreme. Regardless, here are 3 basic signs that your bottle might have been damaged by extreme heat:

Signs of Heat Damaged Wine (Oxidation)

Cork: My first clue was that the cork was not flush with the bottleneck. Instead it was slightly popping out, as illustrated above.

Aroma & Taste: After observing the cork clue, I confirmed my oxidation suspicion through taste. The wine was flat, with no aroma, no finish, and no fruit, minerality, or any other flavors you’d expect from a freshly opened bottle of wine.

Color: Another sign to look for, but one which I did not particularly notice, is a darker color for whites.

Since I didn’t have another bottle to compare with, it was difficult to say if color had been affected for this bottle. And now you know that if you ever receive a very hot bottle, or notice the cork popping out and a very dismal tasting wine, that it’s most likely not the fault of the winery, winemaker, or even the UPS delivery person; this is a tell-tale sign that, once again, Mother Nature has had her way with our vino.


Source by Jenna Chateauvert