Do Bottles Need to "Quiet Down" After Shipping (re: Salon Champagne)?

My wife’s birthday is in a couple weeks and we’ll be going to dinner at her favorite restaurant here in DC. I want to take a bottle of 1997 Salon with us to drink before/during the meal.

I have two bottles. One was purchased a year ago from Wally’s and has been stored in my offsite locker since delivery. The other was purchased last week from JJ Buckley and will arrive tomorrow.

Because I may not visit the locker between now and the dinner, it would be much more convenient to take the JJ Buckley bottle with us. Is there any risk there? Any reason why the Wally’s bottle might show better, or am I just being paranoid?

If the dinner was in a few days, then sure it’s probably worth getting the other bottle from the locker. Usually things settle down in a few weeks though, so the JJ Buckley bottle should be fine. I don’t have a ton of experience with this though, so I would love to hear what other people think!

I am a believer in travel shock, particularly for wines that may be more delicate. I’d consider Champagne in that realm. I’d give it a month at least to calm down. There always is a lot of back and forth on travel shock, and I think bigger wines may suffer from it less (Zin, Cab, etc.), but Pinot and white wines certainly, in my experience, have a meaningful chance of showing more poorly if drunk soon after shipping. Usually it translates to me as the wine tasting a bit dumb and muted. Sometimes you just want to pop and pour, but after shipping, I caution patience.

I have yet to experience a adverse reaction to shipping wines and popping right after.
Just last week I have a winebid shipment arrive Wednesday and by Saturday I had consumed 3 bottles-- all perfect.

backup plan always smart, even if not the same wine…

I’m the Stuart Beaunehead (04 greenies) of travel shock* threads, I feel compelled to post every time I see one ( neener at Stuart, I keed I keeed)!

I’ve traveled with everything from Champagne to 70s BDX to 75 Ridge Petite Sirah to burgundy - basically everything except Mateus Rose - and the wine has never been affected by “traveling.”

It’s not a human, it’s wine!

  • I do believe in bottle shock fwiw.


Do you also look under your bed for monsters at night? neener

As they say on ESPN’s Monday Night Countdown…“C’Mon Man!”



I routinely take a few bottles of Champagne with me to Brasil and open one (or two!) within hours of deplaning. I taste these wines a lot and have yet to detect any difference between one that has been put through the luggage handler’s gauntlet and on out of our stock in the store.

I’m willing to bet that the “shock” of pouring the wine out of the bottle, into a decanter, into a glass, and into the mouth involves far more movement of molecules than what happens to a bottle occasionally getting a jolt in the UPS truck.

The vibration of ground shipping is pretty brutal. It may be a wives’ tale. Who knows?

Tom is not alone in his belief.

I have noted that bottles have shown significantly different after being shipped then how they performed a few weeks and months down the road. I have noticed this with hearty wines like Port, delicate ones like Pinot Noir and Madeira and especially with Pinotage that was shipped from So. Africa. No question about it in my mind. I realize other’s opinions are the polar opposite, but I don’t care. Bottle shock is a reality, at least for me.

agreed. There’s also the consideration of muddling the wine if there’s considerable sediment, but that’s for older wines.


I am supposed to get a Buckley bottle tomorrow. I also received a bottle today shipped ground from NYC to NJ today. I was planning on drinking both by Saturday, so I will let you know what I think.



Your streets must have fewer potholes than we do in Houston.

Excellent! I can’t believe there’s someone on this board who lives on the east coast, ordered a Salon from Buckley, and will be tasting it in time to let me know how it is! [thankyou.gif]

Thanks for all the other opinions as well. I might try to test this some day (but not with Salon!).

I use the same approach as for decanting. If a wine has been in bottle for a long time, I think it suffers more. It needs more aeration and more travel rest. If newly bottled, then less rest. 1997 Champagne should be OK.

Amerine, et al. at UC Davis published a study on bottle shock back in the 70’s. Has anyone taken a similar scientific look at ‘travel shock,’ or is it entirely anecdotal?

Count me a non-believer.

That’s what I was trying to get at. The turbulence of the liquid on a per-unit basis certainly has to be much greater in the act of pouring into a decanter and then pouring into the glass than from simply sitting in the bottle and slowly sloshing around during transportation. Are there no fluid mechanics PhDs reading this thread? :slight_smile:

Travelling with wine can subject it to a bunch of extremes.
Extreme temp and pressure fluctations are probably worse than just shaking or bumping a bottle of wine.

From my cellar, I am a little careful to stand-up old wine, ports etc… mainly to let the sediment setlle out so I can decant or pour them. Subject them to gradually chillin’ (for sparklers), or warming (old BDX).

Do your Vintage champagnes have sediment you worry about?
Can you keep them relatively +/- 10/15 D F from Cellar to opening?
If they shipped in cool weather via truck or pressurized aircraft it would make little difference if it spent a day or a month being temp/pressure satbilized in yoru cellar.

They may hav been harmed in the shipment, but the damage was done.

If so, I would not think it makes a diff 1 day old Buckely Salon vs 1 month old storage unit Salon.

We tried this silly experiment with young wines and chanpagnes where we took both from the cellar.

Shook one up, subjected it to all kinds of vibrations, made it listen to frank zappa @ 111 dB, yelled obescenities at it and dropped it off the roof and then opened it. Poured it next to the one sedately sitting and drank em. Noticed NO distinguishable difference. 1/2 thought one tasted better than the other, 1/2 said “huh” my is there mud on this bottle. I liked the one that listened to loud music.

Try it and report back your results. Take both Salons. Open both and see if there is any difference besides a non-quantifiable bottle variation which you cannot baseline before hand.

What about thermal shock instead? I’m assuming the primary concern with mechanical jostling is driving the chemistry equilibrium one way or another by putting energy into the system. Well, heat is just jostling on a microscopic level. Wine that is shipped is subject to wider temperature swings than it would normally encounter on a shelf or in storage. It’s not a stretch to hypothesize this could drive a variety of equilibrium reactions one way or another then back again.

But why risk it? It could be a big effect, it could be a miniscule effect. Who’s to say if the “off” bottle you opened was off due to bottle variation as opposed to thermal/travel/bottle shock? I figure if you have dozens, hundreds, thousands of bottles, let the new ones sit and circumvent the issue altogether. Let the wine rest in a temperature controlled location so it can do whatever it needs to do.

Plus, it’s like the various adages that say something is “10% physical, 90% mental.” If you believe travel shock exists, chances are you will find it. I believe it is possible, ergo I might convince myself a wine is less good due to travel. I elect to remove that possibility.