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When the Lights Go Out: Keeping Your Wine Safe in Hurricanes & Other Power Outages

Road Damage from Hurricane Irene (image from iBerkshires.com)

Residents of the East Coast recently experienced the wrath of Hurricane Irene.  For the fortunate individuals who did not incur serious property damage and flooding, there were other issues to contend with: power outages.  Some storms can leave areas without power for days, meaning your wine cooling units will not operate.  And who wants to see a multi-thousand dollar investment ruined because of a power outage?  Aside from hooking your wine cooling units up to a generator, which is an option only if your personal survival is not dependent upon the same generator, there are a few things you can do to keep your wine safe (if you can still access your cellar!)  If you own a wine cabinet, like the Vinotheque Wine Reservoir, or a  N’Finity two temperature cooling unit, obtain a large block of dry ice and, while wearing work gloves, wrap it in clear cellophane (plastic wrap.)  Position it just above the top of the unit, and your wine will remain cool for about two days.  If most of your bottles are racked and you don’t have a wine cabinet, choose your most valuable wines and stand them upright in a large cooler or plastic storage tub.  Fill the container with ice.  Drain and re-ice as necessary. (Standing the bottles upright is okay in this emergency situation.  It helps minimize water/ice damage to labels, and also keeps the corks from being exposed to a fast temperature change.)  If your wines do happen rise above their typical storage temperature, they will age a bit quicker than anticipated.  This may mean that some will be ready to drink much sooner.  Keep this in mind when restocking them after the disaster, and consider using bottle tags to mark any questionable wines.  This way, you’ll remember to enjoy them before it’s too late.

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