Red Wine - From Wine Refrigerator To Room Temp

Hello, I have a couple of good bottles of red wine (Brunello, Malbec, Bordeaux etc) that I bought during my trips to several wine regions. I keep them at 58F in my wine refrigerator. I am moving to another country and I would like to know if I can bring back the bottles to room temperature to transport them. I only have about 8 that are important so I would check them in with my luggage. Would that be ok? Or once the wine is chilled I shouldn't change the temperature?

Answer From Expert Roger Bohmrich MW

I understand your concern about damaging temperature changes for the wines you have collected, particularly since transporting the bottles on an airplane presents special challenges. As I have written to many, at home there is no threat posed by moving wine (red or white) from cellar to room temperature, and then back. If you intend on taking your wines with you, checking them as luggage, there are indeed some concerns. First, they should be packed in a protective shipping carton, the type used by wineries to ship wine by air. Hopefully, the airline won't be a problem, in this age of hyper-vigilance regarding what is on board. You should also check customs restrictions imposed by the country to which you are traveling. In terms of temperature, it is my understanding that the baggage compartment is cold, but not cold enough to freeze wine. Inevitably, your wines will experience multiple changes in temperature over the course of your trip. I doubt this will include extremes which might pose a real threat, unless you have very old vintages which are inherently more fragile. Above all, avoid heat, such as in the trunk of a taxi in summer weather or the tropics. Best of luck with the trip.

About The Expert

Roger has enjoyed a lengthy career in the wine trade as an importer and retailer, and at present he is an educator, speaker and consultant. He set up and managed Millesima USA, a New York merchant affiliated with a leading European company. Previously, he served as senior executive of importers Frederick Wildman & Sons. In recent years, Roger has judged wine competitions in Argentina, Turkey and China. Roger became one of America's first Masters of Wine in 1993.

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