Is white wine susceptible to bottle shock?

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Dear Dr. Vinny,

Does white wine need time to settle after a travel? If so, how long?

—Tatiana, United States

Dear Tatiana,

“Travel shock,” also called “bottle shock” or “bottle sickness,” is a hot topic of discussion among wine lovers. The problem is that it’s based on anecdotal evidence about the perception of how a wine tastes—this isn’t easily measurable stuff with scientific explanations.

But plenty of wine lovers—including yours truly—have experienced a wine that seems flat, muted or disjointed after a journey (or right after bottling), leading us to conclude that travel shock is a real thing.

The good news is that younger wines seem less susceptible to travel shock than older, more fragile ones, and I’ll add that white wines also seem to be less affected. But I’d say all wines—no matter what color, style or age—won’t be hurt and can certainly benefit by resting after travel—a few days should do it.

—Dr. Vinny

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