ask dr. vinny

Hello there! I'm Dr. Vinifera, or "Vinny" for short. Ask me your toughest wine questions, from the technical aspects of winemaking to the fine points of etiquette. I hope you find my answers educational and even amusing. Looking for a particular answer? Check my archive and my FAQs. You can also follow me on Twitter: @AskDrVinny.


Dear Dr. Vinny,

A friend’s wine cellar has some issues and the temperature will be at about 78 degrees for a week or two while things are fixed. He is trying to decide whether to move the wine—about 300 cases—to a temperature-controlled cellar for the time, or just leave it there. There is no exposure to sun or extreme heat. My feeling is to leave it alone, rather than jostle it around. What are your thoughts?

—Timothy H., Minneapolis

Dear Timothy,

That’s a tough one. Extended exposure to temperatures of 78 degrees F could damage his wines, maybe even more than a bumpy ride to and from a temperature-controlled cellar, though my concern for bumpy rides increases as the wines get older and more delicate.

I think it comes down to economics. If your friend can afford to have the wines gently relocated to a temperature-controlled environment, then I’d say move them. If not, keeping them out of direct light and as cool as possible would have to do. Possibly somewhere in the middle of those two options is looking into a portable air conditioning unit. If the wines can be kept in an enclosed room, I see portable air conditioning units on sale for a few hundred dollars (plus the cost of electricity).

—Dr. Vinny


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