Has my wine gone off?


A friend of mine called me the other day and asked if his wine could be off.  Use the sight, smell and sip method to help give you some insight!


Check out the cork.

Even before you open the bottle, the cork should not be bulging out of the bottle. If a cork is too tight, there is not enough space for the wine to develop flavor, while a cork too loose can cause the wine to oxidize. The cork should be slightly stained, and should not be crumbly or soaked.

Pour the wine. If it looks tawny or brown that might be a sign that it’s off. When I hosted a party a few years ago, someone brought a bottle of champagne that had gone off. It was a dark yellow colour, which is unusual for Champagne.


The wine may smell stale, nutty, or even smell sweet like marshmallows!

The off Champagne smelled musty and just foul! What a waste of Champagne.


Image: publicdomainpictures.net


If you can bear to taste it at this point, you may notice

  • A sharp taste, like vinegar
  • Bland
  • A red wine tasting sweet
  • Bubbly – like it’s fermented


What makes a wine go bad?

If wine is stored in too warm an environment it can go bad. Ideal wine temperature storage is between 45-65 degrees, however, a few degrees more should be ok.

If you’ve had your wine open for awhile, it can oxidize and go bad. If you can keep your wine corked and in a cool place, your wine will last longer. You can store all wine – including red in the fridge, to help slow down the oxidation until you are ready to drink it.

How long to keep opened wine Red White & Rose Sparkling
   3-5 days  5-7 days  1-3 days