Are older wines on retail shelves at room temperature at risk of premature aging?

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Dear Dr. Vinny,

I've sometimes seen older vintages on wine shop shelves. If these bottles have been at room temperature for all these years, are they at risk of premature aging or spoiling?

—Michael, Houston

Dear Michael,

It’s so important to find retailers that you trust, and my favorite wine shops are a bit cool when you walk into them. I’ve also seen shops with a separate room with cellar-like conditions for older rare and more expensive wines.

It’s OK to ask a wine shop manager how they store their inventory, or to mention your concerns (as you suspect, wines kept in a warm environment are more susceptible to premature aging, though you shouldn't have any concerns about them "spoiling"). But I’m also a glass-half-full wine advice columnist, and have faith that most wine retailers love wine, care about how their wines are stored, and want to deliver the best possible product to their customers so that they'll keep coming back.

—Dr. Vinny

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