Winery Owners: Don’t bake my wine in the parking lot

Winery Parking Lots
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We have visited a couple hundred wineries over the years. Although there are always trees around the often sumptous architecture housing the tasting room, on a sunny day the parking lots are broiling asphalt deserts.  Think of the typical wayfarer…  after visiting a few wineries, he or she probably has  some wine purchases in the car.  Parking in the hot sun in your parking lot will damage most of this precious cargo.

Putting Expensive Wine into a Sizzling Hot Trunk

Winery Asphalt Desert – Ruins Visitors Bottle Purchases

And the wayfarer may like your wine and buy a bottle or a case.  At the next stop, your lovely wine gets cooked along with the wayfarer’s previous purchases.  When the wayfarer opens your bottles in a few weeks or months and takes a taste – Ugh! Not the way the wayfarer remembered it.  No customer delight, no brand loyalty.

Thumbs up for shade trees in parking lots

Give us gas-guzzling winery visitors some shade where we need it!  Most wineries have  trees  Sadly, the parking  lot is often placed in such a way that the shade falls outside the lot — often on the grapevines.  This is not ideal. Wineries – please consult with your arborist to select trees appropriate to your climate, able to thrive near pavement and without droppings harmful to car finishes.

How to Protect your Wine Purchase

Even if wineries took this advice and started modifying their parking lots tomorrow, it would probably take at least 10 years for those trees to produce shade.  So when you plan a winery tasting roadtrip, get prepared. Take an empty cooler and some well-frozen reusable blue ice packs.  Real H2O ice will damage your labels as it melts. You could slip each bottle into a plastic vegetable bag for added protection.

Use blue ice packs and a cooler to protect your winery purchases

Plastic Igloos work fine for a day.  We are thinking of upgrading to a metal Coleman or even a Yeti for future multi-day trips.  Cabelas, the purveyors of gear to hunters, fishesr, campers, sells them at its store in Springfield, OR and also online.

About the author

Tony Lima has been a California wine fan since arriving in California from the east coast in 1974. He's lived the growth and expansion of the West Coast industry first hand. He's seen the fickle California Wine consumer fads pop up and burst... the craze for Zinfandel, then oaky Chardonnay, then Merlot, now Pinot Noir. On behalf of fellow Californian oenophiles, he hunts for great pinot noir and great values in pinot noir all along the West Coast. His day job is Professor of Economics at California State University located in Hayward. His undergrad degree in chemical engineering (MIT) and his MBA (Harvard) and Ph.D. Economics (Stanford) are the root of his interest in the Business of Wine. He is a card-carrying member of the AAWE - American Association of Wine Economists.

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