Hello there! I'm Dr. Vinifera, but you can call me Vinny. Ask me your toughest wine questions, from the fine points of etiquette to the science of winemaking. And don't worry, I'm no wine snob—you can also ask me those "dumb questions" you're too embarrased to ask your wine geek friends! I hope you find my answers educational, empowering and even amusing. And don't forget to check out my most asked questions and my full archives for all my Q&A classics.
Dear Dr. Vinny,
I left two bottles of wine in my car during work. it was about 80° F outside and I cracked my windows but I'm sure it got hot. One bottle had a small amount of wine leak out. Do you think my wine is "cooked"?
Just as with pets and kids, it’s a bad idea to leave your wine inside a hot car. Even with the windows cracked, if the temperature outside is 80° F, the interior temperature of your car can soar past 100° F in less than 30 minutes and, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, reach as high as 172° F. Basically, cars make for great greenhouses, but they're terrible places to keep your wine.
Unfortunately, there aren’t any scientific studies I'm aware of that present a formula for how long and how much heat a wine can take before it is damaged. All I can find are anecdotal stories about how some wines are fine and others were ruined. Even the bottle that leaked might be perfectly fine. The only way to find out is to open up the bottle and taste it.