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.

Steely Images. Pictorial. A beautiful thing at Frick Winery December 15, 2015 19:03

Here are pictures of my tools. It is great working with these things. Please take a look.

                                                        press basket


grape hopper screw                                                       barrel washer


stemmer cowling                                                       reducer


screen                                                                    stemmer screw


stemmer cage                                                              tank outlet


sight glass                                                               fitting clamp


tank valve                                                                   punch



One of the reasons I love winemaking is the tools of the trade.                                             

Packaging for Wine Shipping. What is the best? November 30, 2015 17:23

For shipping wine you start with a cardboard box that has inserts to protect bottles from breaking.

The three main options for the insert packaging are:

  1. Folded cardboard shapes to hold and cushion a bottle
  2. Paper pulp to cradle and insulate a bottle
  3. Styrofoam to cradle and insulate a bottle

For years I used the lay down paper pulp option because I hate styrofoam.  Cardboard shapes offered zero insulation.  Pulp served as a good padding material, but I questioned its level of insulation.

The reason I hate styofoam is that the environment is a big issue for me. Recently because of serious concerns with protecting wine shipments from temperature extremes I started using styrofoam thinking this offered the best for insulation. This was just an educated guess that styrofoam was best and I needed to verify this.

I set up a test. Paper pulp vs. styrofoam shippers. 

Styrofoam and paper pulp packages side by side.

I enclosed max/min thermometers inside each shipper type and set the shippers outside to expose them to night temperatures that dipped well below freezing.

Readings indicated that temperature inside the styrofoam shipper was significantly more stable and actually never went below freezing. Not so with the paper pulp.

Conclusion is that styofoam does offer superior insulation from temperature extremes both cold and heat. But I use it sparingly only when faced with the most extreme temperatures. Otherwise I prefer to use paper pulp padded layers. For the best conditions see P.S. below 

P.S. Within California I am often able to ship full case orders in regular wine cases because temperatures are moderate and transit time it shortThis significantly cuts down on the amount of  packaging and the entire package is recyclable.


The insert notice for shipments that require extra protection:

ABOUT THIS WINE SHIPPER I hate Styrofoam. So only after much consideration & testing did I settle on this package.The environment and convenience are important issues for me. But my ultimate concern is the protection of your wine during transit.

 The value of styrofoam is that it offers the very best insulation and padding of shipping materials available. My goal is for your precious, delicate wine to arrive in great shape by being shielded from the elements and breakage to the greatest degree possible. Cheers to taking care of good wine. Bill Frick



What's the Deal with One Cent Shipping November 22, 2015 12:00

California ABC (Alcoholic Beverage Control) prohibits giving gifts and giving away anything for free. Free shipping violates this regulation.

Fall at Frick November 12, 2015 14:46

Bright sunny days and cold nights bring on the bright colors of this season.

Frick Estate Owl Hill Vineyard.