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Wine and the preservation of its quality during transport

Preserve the quality of wine during transport.

How to protect the quality of wine during transport? Temperature fluctuations are bad for the quality of wine. That is old news for the connoisseurs of good wines and the reason they keep the temperature of the wine constant during storage with conditioned rooms, wine cellar and wine climate cabinets. However, is this constant temperature the case in the whole logistic chain? What is the situation? And what are the solutions?

In the distribution chain the wine will have been stored at the winery, transported by truck, stored in warehouses, loaded in containers, placed in the burning sun on quays,  cooled down at night and will  be exposed to all rises and falls in temperatures on the container ships. And at the destination port there are again waiting days on quays, warm warehouses and hot trucks involved. Finally, the wine arrives at the wine connoisseur who- unaware of the history of 35 C° hot truck and – how cynical – stores it at a stable temperature in his wine climate cabinet or wine cellar. If the wine has not been protected during transport, the quality of the wine will have been degraded already.

There are solutions to avoid the degradation of the wine and these are used already.
First, the use of reefers is an excellent way to keep the wine at a stable temperature during transport in containers. Unfortunately, this is an expensive solution.
Second, if palletized and shipped in less-than-container load (LCL), thermal pallet covers such as the Alphatherm PS006 are a good solution. An additional benefit is that the wine will also be protected during all further transport and handling and not only in the container.
Thirdly, thermal liners are the best solution if the wine is transported as Full Container Load (FCL). The thermal liner will be attached to the rings on the inside of the container and forms an insulating barrier for temperature changes. It also protects against condensation also known as container rain.
 If a thermal liner with floor is used, also the bottom of the container is insulated and will keep moisture and bad odours separated from the wine. We suggest the AlphaTherm T002 for 20ft containers, the AlphaTherm F002 for 40ft containers and the AlphaTherm F004 for 40ft HC containers.

The influence of temperature on the quality of wine has been researched by several scientists. Below you find some of their researches:
In 2015 Zsuzsanna Czibulya a.o. found that an increasing temperature decreases the colour stability and pH due to the dissociation of several phenolic OH groups.
In 2012 the conclusion of O. Makhotkina a.o. was that cool storage temperatures of 5°C – 10°C increases the shelf-life of Sauvignon Blanc wines by preserving their fruity and fresh green characters.
In 2015 N. Scrimgeour a.o. wrote that temperature can play a significant role in the development of wine at many stages during its lifetime. Elevated temperature, however, poses a significant risk to the sensory attributes of wine and its resultant shelf‐life. Wines often experience difficult environmental conditions during transport and storage, and this can directly impact on the colour, aroma and mouthfeel of the wine. Higher and/or fluctuating temperature can essentially accelerate the ageing process. Unfortunately, these changes often go unnoticed until the wine reaches the consumer. Numerous studies have investigated the impact of elevated temperature on wines, with noticeable effect, such as reduction of sulphur dioxide, colour development (especially browning of white wines) and changes in the profile of volatile compounds, being common. …………………. The chemistry changes involved in heat‐affected red wines are generally more complex than they are in white wines, but it is arguable that white wines are more sensitive to the effect of heat and therefore require the same or a greater level of research consideration with respect to temperature effects.
In 2017 C.G. Edwards a.o. found that storage temperature together with SO2 and alcohol percentage influence infections by the spoilage yeast B. bruxellensis that causes off-odours and flavours in red wines.
In 2013 Maria Jesus Cejudo-Bastante a.o. found different values of components in Chardonnay White Wines for wines stored during 1 year at higher temperatures and at normal storage temperatures.

Based on the conclusions of these scientists we recommend stabilising the temperature of wine during transport and the usage of thermal liners and pallet covers to protect the quality of wines. Alphatherm liners offers a complete range of thermal liners for 20ft and 40ft containers and IBC and pallet covers in the Webshop of

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