Wine  vs. The Desert Heat


The fun story of how Madeira wine came to be is when the Portuguese sailors, a few hundred years ago, filled the wooden casks of wine from the Madeira Islands and shipped them to ports in India and China. The only route to take was to go south around the African continent and up through the Indian Ocean. On board, common temperatures in those tropic zones often huddled around 120 degrees.  They soon discovered the wine could be preserved by mixing in some brandy—but, the wine was still “cooked” by the heat


However, this combination lead to a flavor profile that was unique, distinct, and delicious. A whole new wine industry was borne from that process. It was the European aristocracy’s wine of choice of that time and was George Washington’s favorite.  So—as you would expect, Madeira can handle the heat!


That old adage of serving red wine at room temperature doesn’t work out here, therefore we have to remember to serve our reds moderately chilled at 55 degrees for the young and  up to 68 degrees for the old vintages; our whites wonderfully chilled at 45-54 degrees  and our Champagnes and Sparkling wines exquisitely chilled at 38-42 degrees.


In the desert, never fear of serving your wine too chilled. Your glass will warm up quickly and it’s the fun task to catch the full bouquet as the wine gets into its ideal taste parameter: Remember good wine always evolves in the glass and during the meal. It’s this mystique of wine that keeps us coming back.


Now to the whole bunch us wine enthusiasts and collectors—who have a case or two, or twenty, or two hundred!, keeping our wine in pristine condition is always a main consideration.  We know the quality of wine we are holding and the necessity to keep our bottles cool and at the right humidity.


I always recommend the Wine Vault of the Desert to all my wine friends.  Things are heating up so go on to and acquaint yourself to all of the services and benefits that await you and your wine!


Wine Vault is a premier 10,000 sq. ft custodial wine cellar that maintains a constant temperature of 55 degrees and 65-70% humidity, the optimum condition for wine storage.  Pretty much, most of your in-home wine coolers—which are great to have around the kitchen, are just that: wine coolers, not humidifiers.


Wine Vault maintains 24/7 security and all cases of wine are scanned into their database providing clients with confidential on-line access to their personal wine inventory. Don’t let this service info escape you!  You are basically provided wine cellar management just by the fact that you are storing there! I know we all have the best intention to keep track of our wine collection, but how many of us lose track of the wines we have. At Wine Vault, with just a click on-line, all your wine info is there!


Another super benefit is that we are deemed a member of the Wine Vault which entitles us and our guests to bring our own wines to over 28 Palm Springs/Rancho Mirage/Palm Desert area restaurants where the corkage fee will be waived!   And get this! Give the Wine Vault reasonable notice and they’ll deliver your wine to the restaurant for just a $5 charge!


Call my friends, Ralph or Jack, at the Wine Vault for any questions and great deals on storage.  The Wine Vault of the Desert, 77556 El Duna Court, Suite B, Palm Desert, California 92211. Phone (760) 345-3000 Email: .  Hours: Monday to Friday: 9:00 am to 5:30 pm, Saturday: 9:00 am to 1:00 pm, After Hours, by Appointment

Rick Riozza is the desert’s sommelier-about-town conducting private & corporate wine tastings and events. You can reach him at






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