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What Is Bottle Shock?

Ok, so there was a rather fun movie by the same name…..but Bottle shock is a major concern for wine consumers across the country.

Let’s start with the basics, Bottle Shock is generally thought of as a negative condition that happens when the wine inside a bottle is moved around, a lot.

The first time this happens is when a wine is initially bottled.  It also will subsequently happen when the wine is shipped.

Over the years, consumers haven’t worried about bottle shock all that much.  After all, when the wine industry only existed in a 3 tier setup, why care all that much about the wine being moved in transit from the winery to a distributor to your local retailer? After all, it’s going to take the retailer a couple of days to get the wine displayed and then often a couple of months to get it sold, so there’s plenty of time for the wine to settle.

Then, this started to happen within the wine industry:

Let’s also remember that 98% of wine is consumed within 48 hours of hitting your front door and consumers, should actually care about such a basic question as what is bottle shock? Increasingly, it seems so….but in reality given how people consume wine in America….no.

If I were an average consumer, without a rather large cellar I wouldn’t be at all concerned with bottle shock.

I find a couple of things in practice.  First, after a day or two of bottling, a wine seems pretty much the same as it was in barrel.  I have a ton more experience with this situation than the second.

Secondly, for wines that are shipped, younger wines seem fine.  In fact, if temperature was a concern, it’s often preferable to drink younger rather than older.

For aged wines that are shipped (people do not normally do this, for a reason) your real concern isn’t necessarily some nebulous expression of bottle shock, but really sentiment floating around the bottle.

So what is bottle shock?  It’s a general lessening in quality of a wine for a short period of time after it was transported.

More importantly, should you, as a consumer, be concerned about bottle shock: Nope.  Not at all.

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