Chill Advice for Traveling with and Storing Idaho Wine

Summertime means wine country excursions, dining alfresco, and sipping delicious Idaho wines and ciders on a patio somewhere—whether in your own backyard, a favorite restaurant, or one of Idaho’s incredible wine and cider tasting rooms. 


idaho wines cheers with friends


But what happens when your plans for enjoying Idaho wine conflict with summer’s hot temperatures? Heat is no joke when it comes to wine. Temperatures over 70°F for a long time will taint the flavor of wine. Temperatures over 80°F will literally start to cook your wine!

The ideal temperature for storing or transporting wine is 55°-59°F. That means that not only outside temperatures, but most houses (think your closet, pantry, top of the fridge, or kitchen counter wine rack) are too warm for storing wine. 

The good news is that with a few tips, you can enjoy summer’s many opportunities to sip, savor, and celebrate Idaho wine and keep it at the perfect temperature so it always tastes delicious.

Long-Distance Traveler

Maybe you’ve finally planned that trip to one of Idaho’s six, beautiful wine regions and you want to bring Idaho wine home with you. Great idea!

Visitors to wine country may be tempted to put wine in the trunk of a car for the return trip home, but this will result in disappointment. Place wine in your car’s air-conditioned interior for the drive home or plan to ship it in a temperature-controlled airline cabin. If you want a winery to ship wine directly to you, keep in mind they won’t ship when the heat outside is likely to ruin the delicious wine they’ve worked hard to make. Instead, ask about shipping options when temperatures cool down or consider joining a wine club to receive shipments perfectly timed when temperatures are cool in the fall and spring.

Pro tip: Take advantage of Alaska Airlines Wines Fly Free Program, so your wine flies with you and travels in comfort!

Driving Around Town

Maybe you just need to drive across town to get a bottle of Idaho wine for a dinner party or a celebratory glass tonight. Treat your wine like you would treat fresh berries or ice cream—as a perishable grocery item you’d never leave in the car while you run errands. Make your favorite bottle shop the last stop on your way home, and remember again to keep your wine in the air-conditioned interior of your car.

If you’re enjoying Idaho wine country close to home and purchase wine, it’s a smart  idea (and not bad form) to take it inside with you to the next winery. The main thing is never leave it in a hot car. Winery staff will understand and appreciate that you know how to treat a bottle of wine they’ve worked hard to bring from vine to glass. 


idaho red wines cheers


The Homefront

Don’t assume that wine safely arrived home is immune from the dangers of heat. Wine stored in cupboards or closets can reach higher temperatures in summer and oxidation begins to break down the wine. The best place for wine is in a temperature-controlled cellar or wine cooler so it always stays in the optimal temperature range of 55°- 59°F. 

Don’t have a fancy wine cellar or even a cooler? No problem! There are many ways to enjoy and preserve Idaho wine so it stays delicious to the last drop.

  • If you don’t have a wine cellar or cooler, plan to drink and enjoy Idaho wine within one year of purchase. 
  • Red wine, like white, can be stored in the refrigerator in summer. Just remember to take it out before serving so it has time to reach the optimal drinking temperature of 62°–68° F, slightly cooler than room temperature. (Note: white wine should be served slightly warmer than fridge temperature, between 49°-55° F.)
  • If you’ve opened a bottle and not finished it, consider pouring remaining wine into smaller bottle(s) and seal with a cork to minimize surface area exposure and oxidation. Then put the bottles back in your fridge until you’re ready for another glass.
  • Finally, if you’re sipping Idaho wine on the patio, send the bottle back inside between pours. Keeping your bottle out of sunlight and in a cool house will keep it tasting delectable until it’s gone.