How To Tell If Your Wine Has Gone Bad

Most of the time, we buy wine we plan on drinking right away. But sometimes we might think we have a bottle worth holding on to for a special occasion, so we save it. The thing is, not all wine is ideal for storing. When it’s been in contact with air for too long or has a tainted cork, the vino inside has turned and you don’t want to drink it. Here’s how you can tell if your bottle has gone bad.

  • The smell is off - If the wine smells moldy or anything like a musty basement, wet cardboard, or vinegar, it’s no good.
  • The red wine tastes sweet - If your bottle of red tastes like dessert wine or smells like Port, but it’s neither of these, it’s been overexposed to heat and you shouldn’t drink it.
  • The cork is pushed out slightly from the bottle - It’s a sign the wine has overheated and expanded in the bottle.
  • The wine is a brownish color - This shows the wine is past its prime. If a white wine darkens to deep yellow or a brownish straw color, it usually means it’s oxidized.
  • You taste astringent or chemically flavors - If your wine tastes too astringent or anything like paint-thinner, it’s bad.
  • It tastes fizzy, but it's not a sparkling wine - If it’s not a bottle of bubbly but it’s fizzy or effervescent, the wine has gone through a second fermentation after the bottling, so you shouldn’t drink it. But you can probably tell that when you taste it.
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