Wines mature more quickly on board a yacht than they do on dry land. Thanks to the sway of the boat and the vibration of the engines, there is movement on a molecular level in the wine, where the tannins that give structure to the liquid start to combine and precipitate out.
Master of Wine Rod Smith has tasted wines that crossed the Atlantic and back and although perfectly fine, they were noticeably more mature and forward than bottles of the same vintage that stayed put on terra firma. This needs bearing in mind when stocking older vintages of Bordeaux, Burgundy and port for trips of any great length.
But that shouldn't put you off storing wine onboard your yacht; get the wine right and you can be sure of a magical time.
My yacht owner tells me of the occasion he uncorked a double magnum of 1990 Tignanello. “The bottle itself looked stunning,” he says. “We had moored at dusk just outside Stromboli off the coast of Sicily, and the moment the bottle was uncorked one of the island’s volcanoes started erupting, and there we were with a grandstand view. We stormed our way through the vino and it was the most spectacular sight I have ever seen. It is one of the most memorable evenings I have ever had.”