Is bottle shock/bottle sickness real?
ABSOLUTELY! We decided to test the extent to which wine is negatively effected by car travel and bottling. We have the ability to pull wine from a control sample and also "beat wine up" by bottling the wine and putting it through the paces.
We took five samples (Grand reserve, Medieval Red, Single Barrel Reserve, Howl at the Moon and Intertwined) on a 2 hour summer driving trip. The bottles were in an air conditioned car and NOT exposed to sunlight. It was a fairly curvy road, but not bumpy.
We then had a taste test with a few friends at a dinner party. We wanted to see if guests could match the "beat up" wine with the control wine, and also to see if the wine was drinkable.
The results: The road trip wine did not taste much like the control group wine. In fact, it was almost impossible to match them up. The drinkability of the wine that had been on the road was marginal at best.....We were embarrassed by the condition of our wine and actually shocked at how much a "trip home from the store" could impact your wine experience.
In conclusion, we recommend waiting at least a week after bringing your wine home before you drink it, or preferably a month. We will not drink or sell wine for AT LEAST a month after bottling! Bottle sickness is real and the cure is time.