Cool Summer Shippers

Some wineries are using temperature-sensitive labels to track whether or not their wines overheat during shipping
Aug 11, 2011

In order for a wine to ever develop into a great aged wine, it has to be properly stored and have a great cork.

I often hear of readers' tales of trips to wine regions where they recall tasting a great wine at the property. One reason those wines taste so good on site is that they've never left. They've spent their entire existence in one place and don't have to endure travel.

All in all, wine travels fairly well, provided it's kept cool and in the dark. But heat is one of wine's worst enemies, and one reason some wines lose a little something and might not taste as good once they leave home and are shipped long distances.

For years there has been talk among those in the wine trade about creating a seal or band that would indicate if a wine had been exposed to excessive heat. That is, the indicator would change colors, just like those beer ads where the beer goes from cold to super cold, and the drinker can pass the "bar exam" by waiting for the perfect chill.

Back in 2007 I talked to Larry Chase, the owner of PakSense, a company that made shipping labels that track temperature throughout the delivery process and can even pinpoint at what point during the trip a wine reached an unacceptably high temperature.

Chase had five winery clients in 2007. We checked back in with PakSense last week and the number is now upwards of 30.

Obviously, some wineries think it's an important enough issue to keep track of. The technology is there, so why aren't more wineries using it? It's a topic that deserves further consideration, with a discussion about the pros and cons of a temperature-sensitive strip.

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