What is it about vibration that's bad for wine?

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Dear Dr. Vinny,

I have read many recommendations on proper wine storage and the effects of temperature, humidity, etc., but how exactly does vibration damage wine? Is there a relationship between the frequency and strength like there is for temperature variations?

—Michael L., Arroyo Grande, Calif.

Dear Michael,

There's not a lot of consensus about exactly how bad vibration is for wine (or even exactly why it's bad). First off, I avoid vibration because I don't want to disturb a wine's sediment. I also worry that vibration over time will agitate a wine, which could speed up the chemical reactions going on inside the bottle. I only got a C in high-school chemistry, but vibration is introducing energy into the bottle, and this added activity could affect the process of aging. (It's the same reason I avoid mechanical bulls at all costs). In any case, vibration won't help your wine. So I recommend avoiding it.

—Dr. Vinny

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