Hello from the air-conditioned cool of my hotel room in Portland, Ore., where I've traveled to participate in the Wine Bloggers' Conference (winebloggersconference.org). After being delayed till 7:30 a.m. today in Santa Barbara because of thick fog blanketing San Francisco, I arrived late at SFO but hustled and made my connection with minutes to spare.
However, my checked wine box and suitcase were not so lucky, and both missed the connecting flight to Portland.
United rose to the occasion and stashed them on the very next flight north, which meant I had the box in hand at 12:50 p.m., 90 minutes after I arrived at PDX, and boarded the Max line for the hotel downtown.
When my bottles and I left PDX, the outside temperature was well into the 90s.
The backstory: These six bottles — one white, one rosé and four reds — had been refrigerated at 50 degrees for several days in preparation for my trip.
I fully intended to ship the bottles Tuesday afternoon via FedEx until a friend cautioned me that the bottles would likely sit in a carrier transit center in Sacramento or Redding. Better — and, as it turned out, less costly — to check a six-bottle shipper as a second piece of "luggage."
Right now, at 7 p.m., I would describe the wine as chilled, but no longer "cold."
I pulled the box from a friend's refrigerator at 5 a.m. this morning. I should note that until 10 p.m. yesterday, only the bottles had been chilled for days; the styrofoam remained at room temperature.
Late last night, my gracious friend and host Merilee helped me pack the bottles with bubble wrap to reduce movement inside the molded styrofoam, and we duct taped the box and stashed the entire "kit" into her fridge.
For the sake of this story line, let's say the bottles transitioned from 45 or 50 degrees fahrenheit at 5 a.m. to 63 degrees at 6:30 p.m.
The white and rosé will obviously need further chilling early tomorrow; the white is headed to "The Night of Many Bottles" conference event tomorrow night, as is at least one of the reds.
Was keeping these six Santa Barbara County gems (relatively) cool worth me lugging their box, a suitcase and a computer case from PDX to the hotel via the Max line, all by my lonesome? You betcha.
Fellow Wine Bloggers' Conference attendees, come up and introduce yourself to me and these wines tomorrow night, and together, let's see how they stood the test of travel and heat. Cheers!