My air-conditioning broke and the house has been 85° F for three days! Are my wines at risk for heat damage?

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Dear Dr. Vinny,

MY AC unit broke and it's been 85° F in the house for three days! Are my wines at risk for heat damage?

—Dana, New Jersey

Dear Dana,

Your wines are almost certainly fine. That’s a relatively minor shift up from room temperature, and that alone wouldn’t impact the quality of your wines. (Just don't serve them at 85° F, unless you really like hot wine!) There’s no formula for how hot is too hot before a wine starts to exhibit “cooked” qualities, but for short-term temperature swings, the very conservative low end of the danger zone generally begins in the high eighties. Room temperature certainly isn’t ideal for long-term storage, and may result in wines that age a bit prematurely, but it won’t “ruin” your wine.

To learn more about properly cellaring and serving wine, check out our guides to wine storage and wine serving temperatures.

—Dr. Vinny

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