Sizzling Sips: Tips For Keeping Your Wine Cool!

By Leslee Miller

The sound of fireworks, humidity so thick you can cut it and the smell of barbeque means one thing in Minnesota – summer! And with the Fourth of July right at our door means we’re about to take on some of the hottest temps of the summer. While sunscreen is good for the nose, and a pool or the lake good for cooling down our bodies, have you ever thought how hot summer temps can affect your wine?

Sun and wine, not a good combo!

If wine is left out in direct sun or allowed to warm up to hot temps over 70+ degrees, wine can actually cook! Instead of the fresh, juicy fruit you’re expecting, you could be dealing with a maderized style of juice that tastes ‘stewed’ and eventually like vinegar if you’ve gone so far as to allowing the heat to push the cork through the top end of the bottle (rapidly allowing oxygen to permeate and break down your wine).

So if you’re into sunny sipping, check out a few of these tips for caring and enjoying your favorite grapes this summer:

1. Keep your wines in a cool, dark place – out of direct sunlight. Best to keep them in a cooler under a seat or thick towel.

2. Don’t have room for 6-12 actual glass wine bottles in a cooler? Wine now comes in a variety of packaging forms. Wine in a can-yes! Wine in a carton-yes! And, yes to wine in a box!
Remember box wines are not what they used to be.

And, can wine is now the coolest thing! Try the California ‘Fiction’ wines – all in a can holding 500mL of wine.

A few of my favorite boxed wines: Black Box from California, Borsao from Spain or Irreverente from Portugal.

3. Even though your wine is red doesn’t mean it should be left out in the hot summer sun! Keep your reds at a slight chill as well. When enjoying thin-skinned grapes (like Pinot Noir, Gamy, Grenache), it’s best to serve these guys at a cooler temp than you would your thicker-skinned grapes (like Cabernet and Shiraz). Approx. 5-10 degrees cooler.

At my house, my reds just always live on top of a heap of ice in an ice bucket when we’re outside, that way our wine never gets too cold and of course -kept out of the sun!

4. Last, try more rosés! Just because rosés are pink, does not mean that the wine is sweet. Rosé is a style of wine that comes from a red skinned grape. Basically, they’re a lighter version of your favorite grapes (from Pinot Noir to Cabernet). Rosés are made by allowing the skins to spend less time in a tank with the juice from the grapes, giving the wine a lighter, more refreshing version of your red grape. Try one! They’re a fantastic pairing to any summertime activity.

Looking for a few summer wine suggestions for every occasion?

➢ Need a refreshing thirst quencher to beat the summer heat? Try one of my Spanish favorites ~ Ameztoi Txakolina. Zippy, zesty and vibrant – lovely paired to a fresh summer salad or, all by itself.

➢ Smokin’ hot, charred and right off the grill deserves only a wine with some of the same attributes. One of my favorites – Peterson Winery, Zero Manipulation from Dry Creek, California. A gorgeous, dark fruited mouthfull for just this plate. Made from a combination of Carignan, Petite Sirah, Syrah and Zinfandel – the wine is juicy, spicy and sultry all at once. I love it!

➢ Know someone who’s on the fence about wine in general? Oregon’s Willamette Valley Ponzi Pinot Gris is great wine for breaking the ice. This one’s a palatable people pleaser. Round with notes of sun-kissed summer fruit, yet crisp with hints of chalky minerality. Guaranteed to please even the pickiest of libation fanatics!

➢ Gearing up for a weekend get-away or a romantic summer evening date? Surprise that special someone with a bombshell bubbly. From the Lombardy region of Italy, I love this traditional ‘Champagne’ style sparkling from Ca Del Bosco Winery – Franciacorta Brut. With a full, rich, luxurious palate – this wine is unforgettable.

➢ Packing your picnic basket with all your favorite goodies should mean packing just the right wine for your occassion. Check out the Chateau Beaubois ‘Cuvée Expression’ Rosé (made from Syrah/Grenache) from the Costières de Nîmes region of France. Lush raspberry, wild strawberry and early summer herbal elements make this rosé light, dry and ridiculously refreshing, no matter the pairing!

Enjoy these tips and enjoy these wines! Most importantly, enjoy them at the temperature they deserve.

Clink Clink!

For more information regarding wine recommendations, tips, recipes, wine events, wine excursions with Leslee and other wine ramblings, follow her on: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or Pinterest all @amuseewine or check out her website @!

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