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Lightstrike: How Sunlight Could be Damaging Your Wine

Lightstrike: How Sunlight Could be Damaging Your Wine

If you've ever noticed, wine cellars and wine refrigerators are dark, cool places - and this is for good reason. Wines don't like sunlight. Yet wine shops and the wine department at the store have all their wines out on display, exposed to light for days or maybe even weeks. Is this something we should all be concerned about?

Yes and no. 

First of all, the darker the glass, the better - and if your wine is in a BOXT, you're 100% safe from what the wine industry calls light strike - when your bottle of wine gets an unwanted dose of UV rays. That UV light starts a photochemical reaction between the naturally occurring riboflavin (B2) and pantothenic acid (B3) and the amino acids in your bottle of wine, producing hydrogen sulfide and organosulfur compounds called mercaptans. For those of us who aren't chemists, think rotten egg smell. Add to that skunky rubber and garlic, wet dog and rotten cabbage. In short, you can't even stand to pour that wine down the sink, much less drink it.

The good news is, lightstrike is easy to prevent. One way, of course, is to drink BOXT, and when you go to buy that bottle, make sure it isn't sitting in the front of the store in a patch of direct sunlight. Rosés, whites and sparkling wines are most susceptible, because they're almost always bottled in clear glass - think sunlight and your skin: no sunscreen equals sunburn. The clear glass offers zero protection to UV rays and light strike can happen in these wines within as little as three hours of exposure to direct sunlight. Reds are less susceptible because they are often bottled in darker glass - it takes about 18 hours of direct sunlight to do damage through green glass - and because they contain higher levels of polyphenols (including tannins) which protect against UV-A and UV-B rays.

If you're buying wines to age them, you've probably already got a good cellar or wine storage solution, but be aware that the lighting in your storage space is very important. Use LED bulbs as they do not emit UV rays and stay away from incandescents which can mimic the effects of sunlight. If you're using a wine refrigerator with a glass door, make sure the glass has UV protection. For more than just bulb tips, check out our complete guide on storing wine - even if you don't have a fancy wine cellar or cooler.

But don't think you have to stop buying wine in clear glass. You can always do a visual check to make sure your white wine hasn't turned an amberish color and your whites and rosés look clear and bright. Reds are a little more difficult, since they are generally bottled in green glass, but keep an eye out for brickey red colors.

Stick to a reputable wine seller, ask questions, keep drinking BOXT and you should be able to avoid wine strike for most of your wine-drinking life.

Love BOXT? Refer a friend and get a BOXT on us!

 

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