Wine shut down

Hello everybody!

I’ll start this thread saying that the first time I’ve heard about wines “shutting down” was on this board, and to this date is still the only place where I’ve seen this mentioned (I’m not saying this to hint that shutting down isn’t true, not at all).

Problem is that up do that point I’ve always understood wine evolution as an increasing line:
A wine might come to the market at its peak, keep flat for a certain amount of time and then moves past its prime, or it can come out not at peak (and even unpleasant to drink) requiring time to reach peak, staying at it for some time and eventually move beyond it.

For this reason I bought cetain type of bottles, certain type of storage, and when I learned about shut down was already to late, I might be “screwed”.

Now since this is a very “high level” board I’d like to enquire:
Does shut down happen to most wine at most price points, or is it mainly a thing of premium wines? (let’s say 150$ and above)

Where can I find more infos?

Thanks in advance!

So many threads on ‘closed phase’, ‘shutting down’, etc, but just in the midst of other conversations regarding the wine, buried deep within.

I have this same fear as you - I’m deathly afraid of opening a prized (or even ‘nice’) bottle at ‘the wrong time’ which is why I rely on Wine Berserkers notes (and the search function) as well as CellarTracker notes to find out where a wine is at any given time. There’s no ‘normal’ for any wine, depends on the vintage, the varietal, and the winemaker’s style, for sure. Community notes (people trying one for the team, so to speak) are super helpful in this way.

One example is 2016 Produttori Barbaresco (the normal bottling) which was so spectacular when young, everybody expected it to close down by now but it’s still going strong! I had a bottle recently - TN: 2016 Produttori del Barbaresco Barbaresco (Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barbaresco) - and absolutely loved it. At SOME point this wine will close down, but everyone thought it would be by now.

There’s no formula, really. Some basic parameters, sure, but they vary with so many factors.

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Thanks for your reply Todd.

The prized wines, or Barolos (or Bordeaux, if I had many) are not a big deal for me, I already bought them with the idea of bringing them to their mature phase (15+ years).

My problem is the bigger amount of things like Langhe Nebbiolos (we talked about Fontana in the other thread) or Chianti, or premium Sangiovese, or more basic Burgundy village, and everything that I might want to buy in the future. I don’t drink that much at home, 3 bottles a month usually (I use coravin), so the entire machine turns kinda slow. I fear to end up with 20% of my storage space filled with bottles that I was planning to keep for 10 - 15 years anyway, 60% of bottles I intended to drink in a 3 - 5 year window from vintage and are now at risk of the shut down phase, and forced to drink the remaining 20% with not enough variety.

But again, had zero idea of shutting down process before!

Always a good question. It’s completely bottle to bottle. But my general thesis is that the longer the wine can age, the longer the shut down window will likely be. On cheaper bottles that have a 3-5 year drinking window, I would assume it would be much shorter.

Obviously this is still very wine dependent. Some vintages do this more than others, certain regions obviously and styles etc.

To add to research on here and CT, this is also why people buy multiple bottles of the same wine and check in.

A theory I love for Bordeaux that rarely leads us astray is never drink quality wines between 5-15 years of bottle age. That tends to be a general shutdown window for classified growths. I assume there are similar types of windows for different regions but this is the only one I feel comfortable stating.

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I think I would describe the shutdown phase as a wine simply being in a transformation phase where some notes have lost intensity while new developed notes has not gained enough intensity yet. If you have a high tannic or high acidity wine then this will probably feel more prominent as they can cover up whatever vague notes is found in this phase.
If wines ever come out of this phase in a good shape noone knows. But some wines have a good track record while cheap supermarket wines might not have the quality to turn into anything interesting… but they will be different.

How much intensity the wines lose, how long the phase is and so on depends on so many things. But through experience people have come up with “broad” rules for different grapes and areas. For good Northern Syrah, as an example, i live by the rule that i won’t open them if they are within the span of 4-8 years after vintage and will use the “rule of 15” for high end bottles.


interesting because there’s the same concept with Cuban cigars - usually called the “sick period”…

and that’s not just after you smoke a whole cigar??