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How to Tell if Your Wine has Gone Bad

old wine bottles in winery

Can wine go bad? Most occasional wine drinkers don’t know the answer to that question. And if you happen to be one of them, the answer is yes.

Wine can go bad!

You might have heard that wine can last indefinitely, but that’s not true. Once a bottle of wine is opened, you only have a few days to consume it before it goes bad. You should keep an opened bottle in the fridge. You must also seal it properly, not necessarily with its original cork. You can use a stopper, a rubber band, or a plastic wrap to reseal it.

Now, how do you tell if your wine has gone bad? Read on to learn the tell-tale signs that your wine is off.

How to tell if your wine has gone bad


Sauvignon blanc and pinot grigio usually come with a pale yellow colour, while chardonnay and other varieties treated with oak have a slightly darker hue. When your white wine has gone a shade darker, your drink has probably aged or oxidised.

The same goes for red wine.

Hints of brown and rusty colours could only mean two things: a wine is old or oxidising. However, you shouldn’t see drastic colour changes in a fairly vintage wine that’s about 5 to 10 years old.

While you should check if your wine’s colour is off, you don’t want to judge a wine based on colour alone. So what do you do?  Smell it, of course!


A wine that has gone bad smells terrible. A whiff of cardboard or wet dog is a sign that your wine is corked. That means fungi has come into contact with the cork and developed TCA, which causes the horrible smell. However, certain wine varieties are supposed to smell funky. That’s their natural appeal. So, how can you tell if your wine has gone bad?

Take a small sip! Check if the wine tastes as terrible as it smells.


When your wine tastes sour, there’s no doubt about it, that’s one bottle that’s not meant to be enjoyed. If it tastes muted, raspy, or astringent, it should also go down the drain.

What happens if you drink old wine?

TCA doesn’t pose serious health risks to wine drinkers, but it can ruin your wine. Higher levels of TCA won’t go unnoticed. Its mouldy smell will be too pungent that you wouldn’t even dare to take a sip. Even when wine turns sour, which happens rarely, its taste won’t be pleasant, but it won’t be dangerous to drink.

With lower levels of TCA, a wine can be stripped of its natural flavour. Most wine drinkers will notice something’s off but won’t be able to identify it.

What do you do if your wine has gone bad?

Inform your sommelier or wine merchant if there’s something off about your wine. They know how to tell if your wine has gone bad. If it has, they can replace it with a new bottle. If your choice of wine is vintage and expensive, they will probably need more than a few days to replace it.


Should Red Wine be Chilled?

red wine grapes and bottles

Red wine is the perfect companion for special occasions. It is sipped at a leisurely pace that invites a growing sense of happiness and camaraderie among friends. Red wine relaxes inhibitions, fosters conversation and stimulates the mind and body with a warm and comforting glow. Speaking of temperature, did someone just say they prefer their red wine chilled? All eyes turn to the culprit as the convivial conversation quickly escalates into a debate, then a riot, as the sacred principle of warm red wine is foolishly challenged.

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The Difference between Syrah and Shiraz

glass of shiraz wine

The names are similar. In fact, Syrah and Shiraz wines are made from the same variety of red grape. This leads many people to believe they are the same red wine with different names – called Syrah in France (and almost everywhere else) and Shiraz in Australia. However, as important as the grape is to wine production, it’s not the only thing that determines the taste. So what else is involved? Let’s backtrack a little and investigate Syrah and Shiraz.

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Is Red Wine Good for You?

red wine bottle

Medical science is confirming what red wine drinkers have believed for decades – red wine drunk in moderation is good for you. The good-for-you / bad-for-you red wine debate has for a long time polarised opinions, mostly due to over zealous proponents from both sides, but when we put our prejudices aside a clearer picture begins to emerge. We all know that drinking too much alcohol of any type can be harmful but new evidence citing sensible and moderate drinking habits supports the health benefits of red wine.

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Type of Wine Glasses

type of wine glasses

According to connoisseurs, serving quality wine in the appropriate glass will deliver the full flavour and subtle aromas for a complete sensory experience. Every variety of wine is matched with a specific glass to showcase the wine’s colour and body, and the glassware you choose will help guests perceive you as either a consummate host or a novice entertainer. Either way, acquiring a beautiful set of wine glasses can be as rewarding as the wine tasting itself, and is a great step forward in your level of wine appreciation.

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Is Red Wine Fattening?


Can I enjoy a red wine (or two) at night yet still keep in good physical shape? Do I need to eliminate wine from my diet in order to win the battle of the bulge? If I can’t see the calories, does that mean they don’t exist? Is red wine fattening, or is it just the mirror playing tricks with my mind? These kinds of questions often arise prior to embarking on a weight loss or health regimen but before you throw out that untrustworthy mirror, let’s examine the facts and consider incorporating sensible wine drinking practices into your daily ritual. 

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Red Wine Types

red wine in glasses

Red wine is made from black (dark coloured) grape varieties. The colour of the wine is often associated with aging of the finished product and younger wines are often of violet hue while older wines more often brick-red or almost brownish. Most black grapes have greenish-white flesh and juice, therefore red wine production is reliant on processing red pigments in the grape’s skin. In fact, much of the flavour of red wine is achieved by extracting and blending components of the skin. There are many red wine types, all with their own special characteristics suited to pairing with foodstuffs and stimulating the palate.

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White Wine Types

white and red wine

There are a huge range of white wine varieties with characteristic colourings that can range from straw-yellow to almost golden. Surprisingly, white wines are manufactured from the pulp of both light and dark-skinned grapes. Most grapes, regardless of skin colour, have white pulp, and white winemakers avoid using the dark skin that gives red wine its colour. Wine grapes have become established in all corners of the globe where climatic conditions are suitable, and although there are hundreds of varieties, only a handful are commonly used in large-scale wine production.

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