Travel Shock?

I need some advice. I’m traveling from the West Coast to Nashville and bringing six bottles of wine to enjoy while we are in the city. I was wondering if I have to worry about bottle shock from the travel or if I can just pop and pour?

Thanks for your time.

Oh boy, here we go again…:wink:

I’ll save you some time. Some people will say it doesn’t exist. Others will say it’s a big problem. There will be no consensus.


As long as you are not bringing things with a lot of sediment that needs to settle (which can still happen in a day or two) there is zero issue.

Totally disagree. Ooops, didn’t I just say that would happen? :slight_smile:

Exactly correct in my opinion and based on a lot of experience (I take wines with me most times I travel). I think the contrary view is just confirmation bias – “I opened a wine and it wasn’t as good as I hoped - oh, it just arrived in the mail the other day, that must be the reason.”

But if you want, just search “travel shock” and you’ll see long threads about it.

I’ll just point out one thing that can be confusing in those threads. There are two different concepts at play: (1) whether new release wines that make the long journey from overseas on ships and trucks need time to settle, and (2) whether something happens to wines that are otherwise ready to drink just because they arrived in UPS/Fed Ex recently or because you took them in a car or plane with you when traveling.

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I am guessing that most travel shock has to do with big temperature swings that force the wine to expand in the bottle and absorb the gasses in the headspace. Accordingly, if you can keep the wines in a reasonable range of temp than I suspect you will be fine. The problem is that checking bags and sending wine underneath the plane exposes it to low temps. But you can’t take it on board as you know…maybe pack in the middle of suitcase to insulate from temp?

Keep us posted on how it goes…

you can say that for every thread posted on this site! Ask a direct yes or no question and get 50 variations of answers.

Don’t bring older reds w sediment.

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I agree, except I have found sediment can take longer than that to settle well enough to be removed from the wine. I like to go for a week at least, preferably 2 or more.

I only know of 2 tests that have been done on travel shock. Both were done blind. Neither showed any evidence of travel shock. People who believe in it only cite personal experience with no baseline for comparison. I’ve never seen or heard anyone say they’ve done a direct, blind comparison and found travel shock to be real. Differences in our bodies and perceptions, especially days/weeks/months apart and possibly involving travel and different settings, seem much more likely to explain any anecdotal “evidence” than any differences in the wine. Add in a load of biases that we all have, and I won’t be convinced until there’s actual evidence. There are at least as many people who have traveled with wine many times and not noticed a problem as those who have.

Oh, and [popcorn.gif]

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Don’t travel. No worries!

I won’t pretend there’s any resolution to this question, nor imply that either side is right versus wrong. I will point out, though, that when the crux of a question is one’s experience of a wine - how it tastes, smells and feels after travel - then I think it’s perfectly logical to base one’s opinions, and as a result ones actions, on one’s own experience.

Except for all the people in the trade who, over many years, have tasted the wines they import multiple times in Europe and the US and choose to delay delivery and sampling until the wines settle down (costing themselves money) because they have found that some wines don’t show well on arrival.

[popcorn.gif] [popcorn.gif] [berserker.gif]

Well, that’s their personal experience, too, no? They just have more data points of experience. :wink:

I think we’re on the same page that experience is relevant.

I travel with my wines for sales appointments and have never had an issue of travel shock. Note these are young or younger wines that haven’t (yet) thrown much sediment. With older wines I’d expect some issues but if you’re bringing some recent vintage Oregon wines, for example, I’d have zero concerns. If we’re talking 1977 Vintage Port or 1961 Bordeaux, I’d respond differently.


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Sarah you always get to the heart of the issue. Yes it will be 50/50. But that takes the fun our of this whole sight. All of the posts are someones subjective response… That is the fun of reading this site.I do learn from the view of others.

I’m not sure if anyone has claimed it’s a problem with domestic wines that don’t have sediment, and I think everyone concedes that serving a wine with shaken up sediment is bad.

The disagreement, I think, comes down to young European wines shipped to the US. That’s where a lot of importers and distributors with years of experience say they’ve experienced it and other folks can’t imagine how it could be the case.

I don’t think that’s a significant distinction. I’ve brought wines home from Europe and no issues. I honestly think it’s a myth, any rare exceptions proving the rule. Bottle shock is real, SO2 at bottling can take time to resolve. Travel shock is something else. I think people’s hopes and expectations and fears about wines play into things more than we realize. We are prone to declaring things “not right” when we’re the variable, not so much the wine that’s traveled some. MHO.

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When someone is let down by a wine they say “it must have been travel shock” or loosely using terms such as “corked” or “dumb/sleep/dormant phase”.

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How cold do you think it gets in a cargo hold ?