Perfect Provenance: The Two Most Important Words in Wine

Stepping inside a winery tasting room or brightly-lit shop, grape variety, flavor, and price tend to dominate the conversation, but a wine’s provenance is equally or more important. You spend your hard earned money on great wine, but it doesn’t matter how remarkable a wine is if it doesn’t make it to your door in pristine condition.

In a world that seems to value cost-cutting and quickness above all else, we have always put perfect provenance above all. Sometimes, this means delivery might take a little longer. We work with multiple wineries and delivery experts to get our wines to your table or cellar as quickly as possible, without exposing them to heat, light, or subpar storage conditions at any time. Because this is wine we’re talking about.

Whether opening a bottle now or in twenty years down the road, we know you’ll be glad you ordered it from Wine Access.

Read on to learn about what can threaten wine in transit, and how Wine Access maintains the integrity of every bottle we sell.

1. Heat

Wine is incredibly sensitive to temperature. And although everyone knows (we hope!) that wine should be stored at a cool temperature, many don’t realize that rapid temperature fluctuations—hot and cold—can damage a wine’s aroma, flavor, and color in hours. The delivery chain is fraught with danger points, and although wine sellers should be expected to guard against them at all costs, recent studies show that nearly one in three bottles is exposed to potentially damaging temperature fluctuations during shipping.

For wine lovers, this can mean a major bummer, and an especially embarrassing one if it happens in front of guests: Nothing kills a dinner party quicker than a red with overcooked dried fruit and vinegar aromas, or a white whose energy and fresh fruit have been zapped, and replaced by dull, sour, off-putting flavors.

At Wine Access, we ship every offer in temperature-controlled vehicles (with digital thermometers located inside the shipping containers) and check weather patterns for heat waves, storms, and cold snaps to ensure no case is ever left in an environment where extreme temperatures are present. If that means holding wines for months, that’s what we’ll do for you.

2. Light

A hot journey is enough to ruin a wine, but the damage doesn’t end with temperature. Light is another enemy of wine, and many bottles lose their unique personality because of exposure to harsh light in a fault called Lightstrike. This is why early winemakers (very wisely) bottled their wares in dark green glass—to combat light damage. Today, research suggests they were wise to do so.

Excessive and harmful types of light can transform the amino acids naturally found in wine, which can create off-putting sulfur-type aromas. When bottles are left to languish for weeks and months on sunny store shelves and in window displays, light can severely damage a wine’s color, making vibrant reds look tired and brown, and reducing once-golden whites to a dingy sandpaper hue.

At Wine Access, bottles never see the sun or ultraviolet light on their route from the winery’s cellar to your front door.

3. Fraud

It sounds so simple that we shouldn’t have to say it: The name on any label should match what’s in the bottle. At Wine Access our direct connection to each winery guarantees no mischief is made between the chateaux and your home.

Our suppliers are the producers of the wine, and they hold the bottles until they are purchased, avoiding dangerous, complex transfers and opportunities for fraud. We know that nobody cherishes wine like the men and women who make it, so we bring wines direct from the source to you.

Online and at retail, wines sometimes appear at prices that are unbelievable—in the good way. Often, these are “grey market” wines that have changed hands many times, between private cellars, different retailers, shadowy flim-flam artists, you name it.

All too often, the low prices attached to these wines turn out to be too good to be true—in the bad way. Often, they’ve been moved between cellars and warehouses repeatedly, with exposure to light, heat, and cold along the way. By working directly with each winery, we can guarantee the provenance of each bottle.

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We know that a wine’s story isn’t complete until the bottle is empty. The next time you pop a cork, we hope you can taste the Napa Valley; feel the Southern Rhône’s sunshine; or smell Australia’s coastal, salty breezes. A bottle with perfect provenance has the power to transport you.

How you experience it — that’s your story.