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Bottle Shock

Can a bottle of wine get bottle shock in transport? If a bottle is shipped from California to NY when is a good time to open it if the bottle was shaken up in transport?
Answer From Expert Roger Bohmrich MW

This is a truly fascinating question which has bedeviled wine drinkers for a long time. We first need to differentiate between bottle and travel shock. The former refers to the temporary unsettling after bottling whereas the latter is said to be the result of rough handling during a trip or shipment. Like many such issues, there has been a great deal of guesswork and popular wisdom, until an excellent study undertaken by Jonas Tofterup MW as part of his Master of Wine examination. He devised a careful protocol and assembled a panel of skilled, educated tasters. The results failed to show any significant difference between the same wines which had traveled and those which had not. There are a couple of nuances, but Tofterup's bottom line is that the person or taster, not the wine, is in "shock" after travel due to fatigue or the emotional letdown following an enjoyable and exciting trip. He does say that the same experiment needs to be repeated with different wines. You can read more about this research at

About Our 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, Portugal, China and the U.S. Roger is one of America's first Masters of Wine.

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