Which Wines Suffer Least from Travel Shock (only for those who believe in it please)

If you think it’s bogus and want to share your opinions, share them with your spouses and pets please. No need to rehash the question of whether it exists… this thread is for the believers only.

Thinking way ahead here to travel later this year. Both journeys involve multiple planes and at least 7 hours of air time plus car travel and general tossing about.

My general impression and experience is that beyond specific knowledge of wines that throw a lot of fine sediment, most wines tend to act more wound up and less expressive after a journey like this. So any of the following grapes or wine types you think suffer less???

White Burgs
Red Burgs
N Rhône (cc Syrah)
Other category?

@Warren_Taranow travels to Hawaii with a plane-load of champagne every year, so I’d guess Champagne performs well. I’m sure he’ll have some nuanced opinions about this. IIRC, he brings plenty with moderate age on them and white burgs. He starts a thread every year, maybe give a look for those.


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My opinion so far…but less data points personally

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Agree with Robert - Riesling travels well, particularly with some RS. Young robust reds seem to do well. Rioja, because it has very little sediment.

No disrespect to @Warren_Taranow but I think champagne is among the most problematic for travel issues. If I remember correctly, @M.Kaplan feels the same way. I buy bubbles locally when I travel now, for the most part.


I’ve had disappointing bottles of Champagne consumed after flying. Recently, I’ve let them sit for a few days prior to consumption, with positive results. I’m not sure whether the problem is with the Champagne or with the taster (me) immediately after flying. I’m open to either explanation, but the impact is the same and I don’t drink Champagne I fly with for a few days after landing.

Did either of you buy any of these disappointing Champagnes from Charlie Dudley?

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That’s bitter!


Travelled with bubbly around the world. Never an issue

It’s probably the least problematic one to me.

I think some bottles are affected more than others. This is from one of my Champagne travelogues.
I’m traveling with Champagne again later this week, so I’ll get more data points.


As others have mentioned, I think riesling travels extremely well. I find younger burgs do well with 2-3 days of rest post-travel, but suffer a bit if opened immediately.

You’re likely to get many varying responses. Experiences with travelled wines vary widely. Personally, I’m with Sarah on the Champagne front. Mark Y and Warren on the other hand, have travelled extensively with Champagne and found little issue with it. I don’t think it’s a matter of Sarah and I are right and Warren and Mark Y are wrong, but rather all are ‘correct’ in their experiences.

I remember talking to Sarah about travelling with wine a while back and she said something that stuck with me. She said that ultimately it didn’t matter to her whether the effects of travel shock were all in her head. The fact was, she could consistently taste a difference in some wines like Champagne. So she decided to not travel with wines she discovered over the years travelled poorly because she prioritised having a better wine experience, regardless of whether it was all in her head or not. It was real to her and she wanted to prioritise her own personal experience and enjoyment.

I suspect for some, if not many, their experiences with travel shock may be at least in part in their head. Our bodies, noses and palates goes through some weird stuff while traveling. You’re exposed to usually much drier air, barometric pressure changes, not to mentioned potential sleep cycle disruptions and many other factors. And we haven’t even touched on the apophenia of it all. But that doesn’t make those experiences any less real to those living them.

Could folks conduct some triangle tests to try to get to the bottom of things? Sure (the wine geek in me really wants to coordinate a few actually), but it’s for most a hassle to coordinate. Personal experience and discovering what you find travels best for your palate is probably the best way to go. Because ultimately you’re the one that’s going to be drinking and enjoying the wines


Apparently, I was unclear in my post. I experienced too many off bottles of Champagne post flight over the years that I stopped opening them on the day(s) following flight. I mused that the problem may be with the way flights impact my chemistry or Champagne, but whether it is the wine or me that is affected by air travel is a distinction without a difference because the result (the wines not showing their best to me) is the same. So, I’m a member of the Rodrigo and Sarah club regarding flying with Champagne.


Mark, that’s entirely on me for not specifying which Mark :sweat_smile:. I was referring to Mark Y’s comments around his positive experiences travelling with sparkling wines.


If you are into very young cabernet or syrah they have traveled well for me. I have a 7 hour car trip between my home in Southern California and my home in Sonoma In general, older burgundy both red and white need at least two weeks. Champagne seems to be okay after one week. Flights seem to have a worse effect.

Thanks for all the responses. I agree that if you perceive it, it’s real. Nothing about this subjective game is immune!

I didn’t want to bias the responses, but my experience says that most of the wines I like suffer a bit or a lot. The exception for me so far has been Riesling. Very happy to bring a case of Riesling along! And for those who have done well with champagne after a few days rest, this is heartening.

Champagne was the thing on my mind, so it’s good to see that people have a similar experience of muted wine after a day or two that gets better with more time on the ground. Maybe I do 8/4 Riesling and champagne. A bit sad that I don’t feel good about pinot in this case, but there was a pretty good shop in Wailea last time we went to Hawaii. Could make for some good options if we feel compelled on the first couple days.

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I just flew to nyc with some wine, some of which showed well (Couche sensation, roumier) other bottles were a bit muted (Bruno Clair, 06 cdc).

Was it travel shock or did they need more time open? Not sure.

Yeah who really knows? I know I’d rather not be disappointed and if that means bringing more Riesling when I travel, I am all for it!

My cheap ass tendencies make it unbearable to buy more wine when traveling if I have too much at home already…

I should also clarify… I have taken bubbles to many places but i’d say they are predominantly beach resorts - Turks Caicos, Tahiti, Hawaii, etc etc. I rarely take wine to europe/asia… can usually buy them onsite easily, if not cheaper.

I also don’t usually (or can’t really recall) take them to any serious tastings where i’m travelling and then seriously focused trying to assess minute aspects of the wine.

When you’re on vacation, drinking in a chill/relaxed atmosphere, presumably also with friends/family, the wine isn’t the main focus. In these type of settings, I’ve had zero issues with travelling with bubbly.

Exactly. it’s mostly in people’s head. If you’re sipping cedric bouchard on a beach in tahiti, how bad can it really be? :smiley:


I like your style Mark!

Following this thread. Going to D.C. for a conference in late April where this will come in handy :smiley:

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