So that big truck pulled up outside of Sergio Germano's winery, fully refrigerated at 56° (13.33° Celsius, for those “in the know”). It was the first time I'd seen one of the reefer trucks in Europe. After a whole lot of years working in wine, it's unbelievable that this isn't the “norm.”
On this same day, a number of (much smaller) delivery vans pulled in to pick up smaller amounts of wine, and none of them were refrigerated, let alone air-conditioned — and this was in June. The small vans were apparently picking up from a number of wineries in Barolo, so one has to assume that a lot of wine was sitting in these vans for some time before they got to their initial destination.
One hot July afternoon outside of Domaine Ampeau, I saw a flat-bed with dozens of cases of expensive Burgundy sitting outside the cellar. It had come to pick up 10 cases from the domaine. It was in the low 90's temperature-wise. Who knows how long those wines had been sitting there, or how much longer they'd be on that truck — let alone how they would be transported and stored whenever the flat-bed was emptied.
Then there are the stories (few speak of this) of driving south from the Médoc to the city of Bordeaux and seeing thousands of cases of wine sitting outside in the summer waiting for transport to the many warehouses in the city (not all of which are temperature-controlled).
At Moore Brothers, temperature-control isn't optional. Wine is agricultural produce. And our customers expect that the wine we offer is the result of careful viticulture, and proper handling. Every bottle, whether it's a $15 bottle of Côtes-du-Rhône, a $200 Burgundy, or $30 California Syrah, is picked up in a refrigerated truck, and from that minute until it reaches our customers in one of our stores, it's in our care at 56°.