Cold in the winery

Lately, everyone is talking about the weather and the Siberian freeze that is bringing our peninsula to its knees. And the wine, how is it doing? It is known that in cold weather wine oxidizes more, so in the winery people hold back on decanting and aeration. Our winery is an exception and our temperature regulation system is in fact working like a dream. Even though the outside temperature drops to -13 °C at night, we are able to maintain +10°C in the packaging area and a few degrees more in the storage and ageing area.

I am very proud, reporting this data, since I had a strong desire to install this heat pump air control system, which we have used since 2003. The wine is not subjected to thermal spikes and can proceed in the development and refinement process without trauma.

The bigger problem is tied to transport. Wine is usually put on trucks that are not heated and has to endure long trips, usually to the north. For shipments destined for the USA and Asia, the biggest danger lies in the time spent waiting at the ports, which can even last for weeks. Most wine businesses sell straight from the winery, so the transport risk is taken on by the buyer. We can’t however wash our hands of it once sold; we can’t forget that it’s always our label that goes to the table, so we have to stay attentive.

Wine is of course rich in alcohol, so it freezes at temperatures below 0°C and it is protected by the packaging, so the possibility of being ruined by the cold during the trip is very low. For wines that are not tartarically stabilized like ours, there might be risk of deposit formation at the bottom of the bottle, a phenomenon that manifests itself with prolonged exposure to intense cold. A rudimentary, but smart, idea is that of my friend the basketball player and producer Gianluca Morino of Cascina Garitina for protecting his wines from the great cold once they are put on the pallet – take a look here.

Sincerely speaking, I am more worried about the opposite phenomenon, great heat. Personally, I advise my clients to avoid transporting pallets of wine in the months of July and August, unless the trucks are refrigerated.

A simple and effective tactic for preserving the organoleptic characteristics of wine is of course letting it rest for a month at a constant temperature before offering it for sale. I know however that market needs can sometimes make one forget about this good rule of thumb.