Last summer saw a record heat wave across many parts of the country. No big secret here, triple-digit temperatures are much better for frying an egg than for shipping a bottle of wine to your doorstep. Lot18 was barely six months old last summer and, back then, we used this space to show you how to identify a cooked bottle, and we also encouraged you to have your wine held until fall weather had set in. But now that Lot18’s a little more grown up, we’re happy to introduce to you a series of steps that will ensure your wine arrives in pristine condition, whenever you order. If not, we’ll replace the damaged bottles, no questions asked.

First things first, though. For all your orders, whether it’s beach weather or balmy, it’s important to use a business address as your delivery location. For starters, there’s usually always someone on hand at your place of work to sign for your package; UPS won’t leave your wine at your home address without an adult signature, which means the wine could spend all day on a hot truck if you aren’t home. UPS also tends to stop at businesses first on each day’s routes, so on delivery day your wine will spend the minimum amount of time on the truck. And keep this in mind: Nearly 100 percent of the time our Member Services team is contacted about a heat-damaged shipment, the wine was sent to a home address.

Now, here’s where we’ve made some improvements that should guarantee the safe shipping of your wine:

Knowledge is power

Starting very soon, you’ll notice in your order-confirmation email that there’s a predicted date of arrival. If the weatherman has already told you that the temperature will be more pleasant on Venus that day, contact our Member Services department right away to have your shipment held for a future shipping date. Just email Service@Lot18.com or call 1-855-MYLOT18 within an hour of placing your order.

Keepin’ it cool

For the most part, though, you needn’t worry: Any wine you order from Lot18 is kept at a proper cellar temperature, below 65 degrees Fahrenheit. When the wine leaves the warehouse, especially if it’s being shipped somewhere other than California, it travels only in temperature-controlled trucks – regardless of whether the truck crosses two state lines or ten. When the wine gets to your nearest UPS hub, you needn’t worry – that facility, too, is kept at a constant, wine-friendly 60 degrees.

Name the time and place

From the hub, the wine can spend anywhere from one to two days out for delivery on a truck that is not temperature-controlled. The farther you live from the hub, the longer the wine will be on the truck. So if you know from your order confirmation the date that your wine is likely to arrive and that temperatures are rising, be sure to sign up for UPS My Choice. This new, free service sends you alerts the day before your package will be out for delivery. Or you can play it safe and have your package held at the temperature-controlled hub, and pick it up there. Or you can pay a small fee to have the package delivered to your closest UPS Store retail location.

If you pay for the Premium level of My Choice, you get the UPS Store deliveries at no cost, but you can also pick a delivery window as narrow as a couple hours. Especially if you have no choice but to have the wine shipped to your home address, why have the UPS man knocking on your door three days in a row in the middle of the summer? Just change your package’s arrival date for when you know you’ll be home to receive it.

As with any wine shipment, know that on our checkout page there’s a date picker that allows you to select a ship date. If the weatherman says it’s going to be hot for a while to come, just pick a date that you think will be better – the wine will ship when you say you want it shipped.

Too hot to handle? No questions asked

Here’s the best part. In the past, we required that you send us a photo of your heat-damaged bottle. No longer. We’re confident enough with all the measures we’ve put in place that the chances your wine will be damaged in transit are right up there with the Cubs winning the World Series this summer.

But accidents still do happen, so if you believe your wine was damaged by heat, just let us know – we’ll replace it. Sure, we’d love to see a photo of the bottle, as well as hear more about when you ordered the wine and how long it took for the package to arrive, as this will help us identify a larger potential problem in the delivery chain. But we trust your judgment. If you say the wine tastes cooked, we’ll send you a new bottle.

As always, please don’t hesitate to contact Member Services if you have further questions. Email us at Service@Lot18.com or call 1-855-MYLOT18, and we’ll tell you everything there is to know about getting wine to you in perfect condition.