Shipping Wine in Winter January 12, 2016 12:43

When shipping in winter the goal is to avoid a frozen bottle of wine. Wine does not mind being cold. You may get some precipitation of tartrates. I have never found a wine to be wrecked by freezing. But when it freezes into ice problems can happen. Wine like any liquid expands as it freezes. Inside the bottle there is not a lot of room for expansion. This is not good for the package. Two things can happen. You may have simulated this by putting a bottle in your freezer to cool it down quickly and forgetting it.

 Cork Push (This is a dramatic extreme example.)

  1. The cork gets pushed out. This is called "cork push"
  2. The bottle cracks. 
If you have cork push the wine is fine, but the package has been compromised. Worst things could happen.. you should have a nice glass of that wine soon.

The steps I take to safeguard shipments from winter weather extremes are:

  • Package shipments in styrofoam. (See Nov 15, blog- Packaging for Wine Shipping. What is the best?)
  • Closely monitor forecasts and time shipments for the best weather conditions.
  • Institute a full shipping moratorium; save and hold shipments until spring or until the extreme cold front passes.

There is seldom an absolute shipping moratorium. It depends on timing and place. Weather in winter. January and February are the most brutal months in the north for cold. If you live in the north you know this. Just today the high in Mound Minnesota is 2 degrees F. But this is a big country with a lot of climate variation. The high in Miami is 68 degrees F.