cooked with no signs of seepage?

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Greg Gardner
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cooked with no signs of seepage?

#1 Post by Greg Gardner » October 16th, 2020, 11:02 am

I received a shipping notification on Monday from a Napa area winery (that shall remain unnamed). I was a bit surprised considering temps, but I've found as long as the shipment keeps moving north with no delays, bottles come through intact. Unfortunately, this inexplicably sat in a FedEx warehouse in Sacramento for over 24 hours before finally getting back in motion. The box finally arrived yesterday, and to my relief, the corks were not raised and there was no sign of seepage. I pulled off one of the capsules, and the cork looked completely normal - no indication of seepage up the sides, etc. But there was a small bit of sticky residue near the top and the telltale smell of wine. Oddly the inside of the capsule was completely clean, no sign of seepage there either.

These were not expensive bottles and I have no intention of going back to the winery to seek a refund (they were impacted by fires recently and this was a small purchase, so asking for replacements seems petty). I'm going to open one tonight and see if it is indeed cooked. My question is, has anyone had bottles that were cooked despite no visible signs of seepage? Could the odor of wine been an aspect of the bottling process? I'm thinking of older bottles I've opened (mostly German Riesling, notorious for seepage) that had mold on top of the cork and were completely sound.

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Re: cooked with no signs of seepage?

#2 Post by John Morris » October 16th, 2020, 11:17 am

You didn't say what kind of wine this was? Red, white, cabernet, pinot? Sturdier reds can deal with some heat without being cooked, at least often.

Often there is mold under capsules on Old World wines, but it's probably because they were aged in a damp cellar without the capsules, which were applied at the time of release. You almost never see mold under the capsule of a New World wine, where the capsules are usually put on at bottling.
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Re: cooked with no signs of seepage?

#3 Post by Jud Reis » October 16th, 2020, 11:24 am

Yes, wines can cook without showing seepage. Only way to know is to pop a cork.

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Well....

#4 Post by TomHill » October 16th, 2020, 11:33 am

The wine experts tell us the wine can be cooked but no evidence of seepage/compromise to the cork. And that the evidence of
a wine being cooked does not show up until yrs later. So you can't tell by trying a btl upon arrival.
I'm not a wine expert but most wine experts don't have a clue as to what they're talking about.
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Re: cooked with no signs of seepage?

#5 Post by larry schaffer » October 16th, 2020, 11:41 am

As others have noted, you certainly can have a wine get cooked without the cork pushing. That makes determining potential damage 'more difficult' and possibly more subjective, though.

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Re: cooked with no signs of seepage?

#6 Post by Greg Gardner » October 16th, 2020, 11:50 am

John, they are larger scaled reds - Zin and Syrah. I suspect there has been some heat damage, and will open one tonight to check in on it. Probably consume the others over the next few months. Mostly I'm just bummed at not being able to accurately assess if I enjoy the wines from this new-to-me producer.

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Re: cooked with no signs of seepage?

#7 Post by H. Holt » October 16th, 2020, 11:52 am

Not to thread jack but didn't want to start a new shipping thread.
A case of Sauvignon Blanc was shipped Tuesday from Napa>Tracy>Vernon>LA and is now somewhere called Dateland, AZ. Looking at the temps of these cities it seems awfully hot to come to TN via this route.
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Re: cooked with no signs of seepage?

#8 Post by Greg Gardner » October 16th, 2020, 12:46 pm

Also, I suppose it's due to increased shipping overall because of Covid, but there appear to be more incidents of shipments just sitting for a day or more along the way. Don't recall that being very common before. I can't help but think these bottles would have been ok of they hadn't been sitting in a warehouse in Sacto - presumably over 90 degrees - for 24 hours.

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Re: cooked with no signs of seepage?

#9 Post by Brian Tuite » October 16th, 2020, 1:28 pm

Seeing a package in Sacramento for 24hrs is the time it spent between Sac and OR/WA. I’ll bet you are fishing in an empty lake.

People for some reason think that they have heaters going full blast at FedEx facilities. Even if it sat in the warehouse for a day it will be fine.
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Re: cooked with no signs of seepage?

#10 Post by Greg Gardner » October 16th, 2020, 1:35 pm

Hope so! I'm not rooting for these to be cooked. The tracking, though, showed it arriving in Sacto Monday evening, departing Wednesday (early) morning, and then the usual route of Troutdale OR, then Auburn WA 'out for delivery'. Stuff that leaves Napa / Sonoma on a Monday always gets to me in Seattle on Wednesday, but this was a Thursday arrival.

Anyway, hopefully it's much ado about nothing and the wines are fine. Mostly I just found it curious that it had the telltale smell of wine with zero visual indicators. Vincent had a very thoughtful post in the other shipping snafu thread, which provided excellent perspective on the no-win aspect of some of this for wineries.

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Re: cooked with no signs of seepage?

#11 Post by John Glas » October 16th, 2020, 1:43 pm

I had a case shipped in the winter to MN with no corks popping out but the wine was frozen. Had a bottle a week later and it was fine. Never know until you pop a bottle.

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Re: Well....

#12 Post by c fu » October 16th, 2020, 1:54 pm

TomHill wrote:
October 16th, 2020, 11:33 am
The wine experts tell us the wine can be cooked but no evidence of seepage/compromise to the cork. And that the evidence of
a wine being cooked does not show up until yrs later. So you can't tell by trying a btl upon arrival.
I'm not a wine expert but most wine experts don't have a clue as to what they're talking about.
Tom
I just opened a fairly $$$ 2001 burgundy with no raised cork, no signs of seepage visible, that was completely cooked. Not a fake bottle. So chalk that data point up to the wine experts =(
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Re: Well....

#13 Post by Alan Rath » October 16th, 2020, 2:13 pm

c fu wrote:
October 16th, 2020, 1:54 pm
TomHill wrote:
October 16th, 2020, 11:33 am
The wine experts tell us the wine can be cooked but no evidence of seepage/compromise to the cork. And that the evidence of
a wine being cooked does not show up until yrs later. So you can't tell by trying a btl upon arrival.
I'm not a wine expert but most wine experts don't have a clue as to what they're talking about.
Tom
I just opened a fairly $$$ 2001 burgundy with no raised cork, no signs of seepage visible, that was completely cooked. Not a fake bottle. So chalk that data point up to the wine experts =(
I know wine can be slowly cooked, just through prolonged storage at too high a temperature. I know this because in my early years of wine buying I kept my few bottles in a closet that remained relatively cool relative to the rest of the house. But that was probably still mid-70s or even higher during the summer. After a few years in that closet, those bottles were clearly advanced and a bit roasted.

But I also think most wines are sturdier than us geeks often think, and that a little heat for a day or two is unlikely to do any noticeable damage. My opinion is that if a wine went through a couple days of heat, but not high enough to expand and push the cork, it’s almost certainly just fine. There are also a few threads here measuring bottle temps during shipping in warm weather, telling us that almost any kind of shipping box is a pretty decent insulator against heat.
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Re: Well....

#14 Post by c fu » October 16th, 2020, 2:33 pm

Alan Rath wrote:
October 16th, 2020, 2:13 pm
c fu wrote:
October 16th, 2020, 1:54 pm
TomHill wrote:
October 16th, 2020, 11:33 am
The wine experts tell us the wine can be cooked but no evidence of seepage/compromise to the cork. And that the evidence of
a wine being cooked does not show up until yrs later. So you can't tell by trying a btl upon arrival.
I'm not a wine expert but most wine experts don't have a clue as to what they're talking about.
Tom
I just opened a fairly $$$ 2001 burgundy with no raised cork, no signs of seepage visible, that was completely cooked. Not a fake bottle. So chalk that data point up to the wine experts =(
I know wine can be slowly cooked, just through prolonged storage at too high a temperature. I know this because in my early years of wine buying I kept my few bottles in a closet that remained relatively cool relative to the rest of the house. But that was probably still mid-70s or even higher during the summer. After a few years in that closet, those bottles were clearly advanced and a bit roasted.

But I also think most wines are sturdier than us geeks often think, and that a little heat for a day or two is unlikely to do any noticeable damage. My opinion is that if a wine went through a couple days of heat, but not high enough to expand and push the cork, it’s almost certainly just fine. There are also a few threads here measuring bottle temps during shipping in warm weather, telling us that almost any kind of shipping box is a pretty decent insulator against heat.
I left 3 bottles of 2009 Gibourg in my daughter's car seat for a week. Completely forgot.

all the corks popped lol. They didn't taste terrible, but clearly damaged.
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Re: cooked with no signs of seepage?

#15 Post by Alan Rath » October 16th, 2020, 2:54 pm

I believe that, but then that’s well beyond what I would say is safe against damage. You’re lucky you weren’t charged with reckless endangerment.
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Re: cooked with no signs of seepage?

#16 Post by c fu » October 16th, 2020, 2:59 pm

Alan Rath wrote:
October 16th, 2020, 2:54 pm
I believe that, but then that’s well beyond what I would say is safe against damage. You’re lucky you weren’t charged with reckless endangerment.
yeah, my daughter did not tell me even once that she was holding 3 bottles of wine in the car. [snort.gif]
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Re: cooked with no signs of seepage?

#17 Post by Brian G r a f s t r o m » October 16th, 2020, 4:01 pm

I've had cooked bottles that looked pristine in every way.
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Re: cooked with no signs of seepage?

#18 Post by D@vid Bu3ker » October 16th, 2020, 4:06 pm

Greg Gardner wrote:
October 16th, 2020, 11:02 am
I received a shipping notification on Monday from a Napa area winery (that shall remain unnamed). I was a bit surprised considering temps, but I've found as long as the shipment keeps moving north with no delays, bottles come through intact. Unfortunately, this inexplicably sat in a FedEx warehouse in Sacramento for over 24 hours before finally getting back in motion. The box finally arrived yesterday, and to my relief, the corks were not raised and there was no sign of seepage. I pulled off one of the capsules, and the cork looked completely normal - no indication of seepage up the sides, etc. But there was a small bit of sticky residue near the top and the telltale smell of wine. Oddly the inside of the capsule was completely clean, no sign of seepage there either.

These were not expensive bottles and I have no intention of going back to the winery to seek a refund (they were impacted by fires recently and this was a small purchase, so asking for replacements seems petty). I'm going to open one tonight and see if it is indeed cooked. My question is, has anyone had bottles that were cooked despite no visible signs of seepage? Could the odor of wine been an aspect of the bottling process? I'm thinking of older bottles I've opened (mostly German Riesling, notorious for seepage) that had mold on top of the cork and were completely sound.
I actually doubt that the “warehouse” was particularly hot. People have to work in them. I have been in five or six Fed Ex/UPS depots in my career, and they were all climate controlled.
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Re: cooked with no signs of seepage?

#19 Post by Chuck Miller » October 16th, 2020, 4:08 pm

Yes, a wine can be cooked with extended poor storage without pushing the cork. However, a wine doesn’t cook in a single extra day in transit unless the temps were extremely high, which would push the cork. One day at 80 degrees or so isn’t going to do it. Your wine will be fine.
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Re: cooked with no signs of seepage?

#20 Post by D@ve D y r 0 f f » October 16th, 2020, 4:12 pm

John Glas wrote:
October 16th, 2020, 1:43 pm
I had a case shipped in the winter to MN with no corks popping out but the wine was frozen. Had a bottle a week later and it was fine. Never know until you pop a bottle.
I've always understood "the experts" (with all the caveats Tom suggested about them) to say that freezing the wine - unlike "cooking" it - will not harm it in any way as long as the integrity of the bottle/seal wasn't compromised in the freeze/thaw process (obviously a big if given the physics of freezing an aqueous solution), so your experience is consistent with what I understand "them" to say. FWIW.

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Re: cooked with no signs of seepage?

#21 Post by Greg Gardner » October 17th, 2020, 8:39 am

Wine is not cooked. I’m usually in the ‘wine is more durable than we think’ camp, but the wine odor had me concerned.

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Re: cooked with no signs of seepage?

#22 Post by markjchambers » October 17th, 2020, 7:21 pm

I had a bottle that unintentionally sat in the sun in the back seat of my car for a while. The cork was
pushed up. I chilled it for a couple of hours and we drink it that day and it was fine. I figured that it wouldn't stay
fine for very long, but I didn't think it would be ruined immediately.

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Re: cooked with no signs of seepage?

#23 Post by Greg Gardner » October 17th, 2020, 8:30 pm

The bottle we opened last night was fantastic. I just over reacted to the winey smell on the bottle and assumed it was cooked.

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Re: cooked with no signs of seepage?

#24 Post by billnanson » October 18th, 2020, 2:32 am

Seepage is the result of rather fast swings of temperature. Very slowly increase a bottle to 40°C and you'll have no seepage, but the wine will die...
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