Is fumigation safe for wine?

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Is fumigation safe for wine?

Postby wnissen » Fri Aug 04, 2006 2:18 pm

A bit late to ask this if the answer is "no," but my wife's parents just had their house tented and fumigated for termites. Is the wine under the house safe?

Given what Stuart has told us about intact corks (1 headspace exchange per decade) I'm pretty confident that the insecticide is not getting into well-sealed bottles. There's going to be a lot more residue in the house itself than the wine. However for leaky bottles, might there be some cause for worry? Obviously insecticides are often pretty nasty nerve poisons...

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Re: Is fumigation safe for wine?

Postby Ian Sutton » Fri Aug 04, 2006 2:44 pm

I do recall one of my wine books specifically warning against fumigating a room containing wine bottles, reckoning it could taint the wine. Personally I suspect the chances of the stuff getting inside the seal, then onto the cork & into the cork & hence the wine is a little unlikely (unless you're into homeopathy, in which case it will undoubtedly give you lifetime protection from fumigation :) ).

As a precaution though, I'd be tempted to use the old routine (from the days of lead capsules) of wiping down the top of the bottle after decorking, but prior to pouring. After the wet cloth, you may also want to wipe again with a piece of Kitchen Paper/roll/towel (whatever it's called over there)

Were the fumigators aware of the wine and did they spray in the wine cellar? If so, it seems a little remiss of them not to suggest the wine be moved.


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Re: Is fumigation safe for wine?

Postby Bob Ross » Fri Aug 04, 2006 4:02 pm

My understanding is that different fumigants may have different safety profiles. For example, Dow AgroSciences LLC-Vikane Material Safety Sheet provides:

You need not bag or remove these items:

Unopened cans (including home-canned goods)
Cosmetics, such as lipstick
Unopened soda cans and glass bottles
Shampoo, soaps and unopened toothpaste and mouthwash
Unopened bottles of liquor and wine (stored horizontally)

A useful rule of thumb: "If in doubt, take it out."

If you can determine the fumigant used, I'll be happy to check the MSD Walt.

Regards, Bob
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