Monitoring of Wine Heat Exposure During Commercial Shipments and Storage

The goal of this project was to accurately monitor and document heat exposure of wine during a significantly large and representative number of shipments from winery to distributors across the country under the most extreme conditions that can be expected for commercial freight during the months of summer. The shipping project showed quite dramatically the impact of wine shipments in regular non-refrigerated trucks with different types of insulation. During the summer months, wines shipped to or via hot geographic locations are frequently exposed to temperatures above 75 °F, and often for extended periods of time. Under the most extreme shipping conditions the wine would have been exposed to temperatures above 110°F. A substantial daily fluctuation in temperature was observed with the potential consequences for the sealing capabilities of the bottle closures in use. We observed a large variation of temperatures within one shipment based on the location of the wine case within the shipping container. Different models of aging kinetics were applied to compare the heat exposure to the aging of wine under ideal cellar conditions. When applying a general rule of thumb for chemical reactions, it was calculated that the wines were exposed to heat that represented an aging time equivalent to between one month and six years. While the aging reaction of and between different components in a wine vary substantially, we obtained a best but weak fit for ethyl carbamate (EC) formation kinetics that may be used to predict maximum EC formation in wine under different shipping conditions.