It’s summer and that means sunshine, hot weather, and time spent outside. There is almost nothing better than a perfectly chilled glass of wine enjoyed on the deck or by the pool on a hot day.

However, wine is a perishable product and to ensure that it tastes its best, here are some tips for enjoying wine all summer long.

Wine is best stored at cellar temperature (53-57 degrees). If you have a wine fridge, you don’t have to worry. When wine is exposed to higher temperatures it speeds up the aging process. The better-made wine, like here in the Willamette Valley, tends to respond better to temperature variations. Cheaper wine may not fare quite so well with large temperature fluctuations.  Wine, meant to age for 10 years, will rapidly reach its maximum drinkability after several days at temperatures above 75 degrees, and 80 degrees and above can be a death sentence for wine in a matter of hours.

When transporting wine in hot weather, don’t leave it in your car where temperatures can cook the wine. If you wouldn’t leave your child or pet in a hot car, don’t leave your wine either!

Planning ahead by having a cooler and ice packs can protect your wine as you transport it. If you don’t have a cooler and ice, consider placing it in the passenger compartment where air conditioning can keep it cooler. Cardboard boxes from the winery will keep the bottles insulated for short periods of time.

Ways to tell if your wine is spoiled: The cork may start to bulge because too much oxygen has seeped into the bottle. Wine can also have a sour or even an overly jammy flavor – warning signs that your wine is not drinkable.

When serving wines in the summer, white and rosé taste best chilled (45 – 50 degrees), though not too cold or you lose the aromatics until they warm up. Most refrigerators are set to keep food between 35-37 degrees, which is too cold for most wine.

Red wine should be served slightly cooler than room temperature. While whites should be served slightly warmer than fridge temperature. This can be solved by placing red wines in the fridge for a few minutes and taking whites out a few minutes early so they will taste their best. When serving our reds in the summer heat, try serving them slightly chilled.

When we ship wines, we keep an eye on the weather and how far and through what part of the country it must travel that is experiencing unusually hot weather. In those cases, we will delay until your wine can be safely shipped so that it arrives to you in perfect condition.

Keep in mind that wine, the temperature at which you serve it, and your pairing preferences should be based on your palate. Wine is meant to be enjoyed and we hope these tips will help to increase your wine satisfaction. Cheers!