Has Your Bottle Of Wine Gone Bad? Here’s How to Tell

Cracking open a bottle of wine is one way to cap off your evening, set off your meal, or relax as you do your taxes. You’ve got something to look forward to until you discover that your bottle of Malbec smells more like vinegar and less like fun.

That means your wine has gone bad. There are a few reasons for this tragedy, including heat exposure, but there are some ways to tell if your wine has spoiled. Wochit’s video below outlines several ways to check your wine for signs of expiration.

It’s advised to give your wine a quick once-over before downing a glass with abandon. Taste, sight, and smell are your ultimate allies, so take heed to the following warning signs and save yourself some disappointment.

  1. Smells a Bit Iffy

    Employ the sniff test to see if your wine is giving off unpleasant odors. Not only is a moldy smell a cause for concern, but so are any hints of newspaper, vinegar, raisins, or dog. Yep, dog. These smells can occur when wine is rancid no matter its age.

  2. The Cork Isn’t Right

    You can tell a lot about a bottle of wine by its cork. A cork that’s slightly raised when you go to open it could indicate damage from heat, which will ruin the taste. It may also be a case of improper corking during manufacture. In either case, either return it to the retailer for a refund or dispose of it.

    Corks that crumble can also be a bad sign. While not a deal breaker, cork crumbs might mean that the wine has oxidized. You’ll need to do a sniff and taste test to check for spoilage. Removed corks should not be damp and if they are, it means the wine has been spoiled.

  3. The Color is Off

    A brown tint to your wine – whether a red or white variety – is a telling sign that your wine has gone out to pasture. Older red wines can keep their red hue well past a decade or five if stored properly, but white wines tend to only be good for a couple of years or so.

  4. It’s Bubbly. . .But Shouldn’t Be

    If you didn’t purchase champagne or sparkling wine, the sight of fizz is not a good one. It means that your wine has either fermented again and is full of stinky yeast, or it wasn’t bottled properly during production. Drink it at your risk, but we recommend dumping it.

Keep watching the video to learn more signs of how to check to your wine for freshness. You can keep some of these tips handy when going to make a wine purchase, but you can also use them as a guide in storage. Never store your wine in direct light or heat (hello, sunny kitchen) and if it’s corked, place it on its side. This way, you’ll help your wine to age gracefully.

Do you have trouble pinpointing wine that’s gone bad? Have you ever had the displeasure of sipping on rancid wine? What’s your worst wine experience?