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Dear Dr. Vinny,
I travel between two homes by car, one in Dallas, Texas, and the other in Highlands, North Carolina. The drive takes me two to three days. Does it hurt my wine during travel, when temps can reach 110 degrees F for short periods of time? I keep my reds at 55 at either home. If so, any suggestions?
—Bob F., Dallas
Man, I do not envy your commute. And I would want a glass of wine when I got home after that long drive, too!
Yes, extended heat and variable temperatures can absolutely damage your wine. Here's what I would do: either look into getting an insulated wine carrier, or even just pick up a Styrofoam shipper that you can reuse. Any insulation you can provide your wine will be better than none. I'd also look into reusable ice packs, which you can put around the wine to keep the temperatures down while en route.
If you can avoid it, don't put the wine in the trunk, which will be hotter than the temperature in the passenger compartment. Protect the wine from direct sun, and do what you can to keep it from bouncing around. (Try not to stash it on top of a wheel well.) I'd also recommend letting the wine settle for a few days, or even a week, after your journey to avoid any possible "travel shock"-some wines don't seem at their best right after a long trip.
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