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Kismet Estate Winery
Kismet Winery
March 11, 2024 | Kismet Winery

What is 'Bottle Shock' in relation to new wines?

"Bottle shock," also known as "bottle sickness" or "travel shock," is a temporary condition that can occur in wine shortly after bottling or during transportation. It is characterized by a muted or disjointed flavour profile, diminished aromatics, and a lack of vibrancy in the wine's overall character. While bottle shock can be alarming to wine enthusiasts, especially when first opening a newly acquired bottle, it is generally not a cause for concern and typically resolves with time.

The phenomenon of bottle shock is believed to result from the disturbance and agitation that wine experiences during the bottling process or during transportation. Factors such as vibration, temperature fluctuations, and exposure to oxygen can all contribute to bottle shock. Additionally, the sudden transition from the controlled environment of the winery cellar to the confines of a sealed bottle can temporarily disrupt the wine's aromatic and flavour compounds.

Fortunately, bottle shock is usually a transient condition, and affected wines typically recover their original qualities with a period of relaxation. Allowing the wine to settle undisturbed in the bottle for a few days to weeks can help dissipate the effects of bottle shock and allow the wine to "breathe," allowing its aromas and flavours to fully express themselves once again.

It's worth noting that bottle shock is different from long-term aging, where the wine undergoes deliberate maturation and development over an extended period. While bottle shock may initially mask a wine's true character, it does not necessarily indicate a flaw or defect in the wine itself. With patience and proper storage conditions, wines affected by bottle shock can often regain their vibrancy and complexity, revealing the full potential of their terroir and winemaking craftsmanship.


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