Have you ever poured a glass of wine unsure if it was okay to drink? Maybe it didn’t look or smell right, and you weren’t confident that your once tasty beverage was now drinkable. Despite our attempts to package wine in a preserving way, wine is still susceptible to environmental conditions and even contamination. Light, temperature, oxygen, bacteria are all possible culprits plotting to wreak havoc on your precious wine inventory.
For instance, an open bottle of wine, or one with a faulty cork, left out too long or improperly stored may expose the contents of the bottle to oxygen, causing the wine to oxidize. The oxidation process can cause your wine to change color to a more tawny hue, taste different like teriyaki sauce, or even smell like “old gym socks.” If you think your wine has gone bad, there are a few things to look out for that may confirm your suspicion.
If your cork is slightly pushed out from the top of the bottle, it’s likely the bottle was improperly corked or it’s a sign the wine has been overheated and expanded within the bottle.
If red wine turns brown or your white wine turns yellowish brown, your bottle may no longer be drinkable. A bottle of red wine that turns a brownish color is usually a sign the wine is either old or tainted, and white wines that turn yellowish brown have likely been exposed to too much air and oxidized also.
Unfortunately, when some wines go bad they can have a very unpleasant smell. The once intoxicating aroma can turn into, what smells like a gym bag of old clothes or a wet dog. Sometimes a bad cork may cause wine to smell musty like a dingy basement; this is what we call “corked”. (If this happens, most wineries will replace the bottle at no charge, assuming the wine is still in the bottle.)
There are many aromas to watch out for and if you smell any of them, chances are the wine is not drinkable. Common smells that indicate your wine is bad include:
- Wet Dog
- Teriyaki sauce
- Wet Cardboard
- Musty basement
You probably don’t want to taste wine that has any of the characteristic already discussed, but if for some reason you miss the signs and actually take a sip, you won’t need anyone to tell you, your drinking bad wine. Flavors may include teriyaki sauce, moldy or mildew, vinegar and vermouth.
Store Your Wine Properly and Avoid Bad Wine
Storing wine properly will help to minimize the occurrence of spoiled wine and help to keep your wine fresh. So make sure your wine is properly corked and stored in a cool, dark place and you’ll have more wine to enjoy later.