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Does wine go bad? How to tell and how to prevent it.

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Most wine lovers have felt the disappointment of grabbing a bottle of wine only to realize that it smells and tastes kind of weird, whether it had just been opened, or sat in the fridge for a few days. Unfortunately wine can go bad faster than we would want to. Stay with us until the end of the article to find out why this happens, how to tell and how to prevent it from happening.

Why does wine go bad?

There are many factors that can contribute to a bottle of wine going bad. The most common culprits are:

Exposure to elements

Heat, air and light can all play their part in spoiling wine.

  • High temperatures can literally start cooking your wine. This means that any fresh fruit flavors that your wine contains will start turning more jammy and even sour. Furthermore, heat can mess with the seal of the bottle which can speed up the oxidation process. In more technical terms, heat can cause the formation of a common aesthetic wine fault known as “protein haze” (heat can cause proteins to become unstable faster), which doesn’t really affect the taste of the wine, but it’s still unappetizing to look at.

  • The UV rays of the sun can pass through the bottle and create a phenomenon known as “light strike”. Light can turn the amino acids that are naturally found in wines into sulfur-containing compounds that smell like rotten eggs.

  • Finally, oxygen, as you may know or guess, leads to oxidized wines. Exposure to oxygen triggers chemical reactions that turn alcohol into acetaldehyde which makes white wines turn brown, reds become orange and both lose their vibrant flavors. Too much oxygen can even convert acetaldehyde into acetic acid, which means that wine has turned into vinegar.

Poor storage conditions

If you intend to age your wines, it’s worth thinking about investing in building your own cellar. Low temperatures and a dark, humid environment are all ideal for the correct storage of wine because of all the reasons we mentioned earlier. Keeping your wines at the top of your kitchen counter will definitely allow faster exposure to elements.
A cellar can also protect wines from vibrations which disturb the sediment in the wine. Sediment refers to either tartrate crystals or spent yeasts that are natural byproducts of the wine and normally fall to the bottom of the bottle due to gravity. Vibrations can disturb the sediment in the wine and it will not be able to stay at one place and while it isn’t harmful to consume, it’s not pleasant to look at.

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Keep wine from going bad

Coravin keeps wine from going bad through its unique and innovative wine preservation technology.

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How long can I keep a bottle of wine?

First of all, it’s important to know if the wine is meant for aging and the recommended cellaring time according to the winemaker. Most wines found in convenient stores aren’t meant for aging, so if you find one that tastes good now, it’s not worth buying them in bulk, if you’re not planning on consuming them within the next few months. Some high-end wines can stay in perfect condition for 3-5 years, while others can be aged for decades, so that really depends on what the winemaker recommends.

After opening a bottle of wine things start becoming even less clear. The moment that the wine comes in contact with oxygen, the oxidation process begins, so it’s a matter of days before the wine goes bad. Sparkling wine will start to deteriorate in less than a day because it’ll start losing its bubbles and eventually become flat. Light whites and rosé wines can stay in the fridge for 2-4 days before they start going bad. Rich whites and reds can stay in the fridge for 3-6 days. Fortified wines have a higher alcohol content so they can stay fresh for longer if refrigerated. On average, dessert wines will stay fresh for 3-7 days, Port wines for up to 3 weeks and Sherry wines for up to 8 weeks.

However, using Coravin’s preservation systems can help you keep your favorite bottles fresh for weeks, months or even years after opening them, but we’ll talk more about that later.

How to tell if wine has gone bad?

Luckily, you can spot spoiled wine using three of your five senses. The smell, the look and the taste of the wine will quickly give away any signs of spoilage. If your wine smells like wet cardboard that means it’s corked, chemicals or rotten egg smells also signify spoilage. Faded or discolored wines probably means that they’re oxidized and excessively sweet or bubbly wines, when your wine isn’t meant to be sweet or sparkling, also means that something is wrong.

If you want to learn more about how to spot the most common wine faults, don’t miss out on this informative article that’s going to answer all your questions.

What happens if I drink bad wine?

Wine may go bad, but that doesn’t mean that it goes bad like other products meant for consumption. Drinking spoiled wine won’t make you physically sick but it won’t be an experience that anyone could describe as palatable.

Luckily there are many things you can do with bad wine, so you don’t necessarily have to throw the whole bottle away.

Minimizing the risk of spoilage

We can’t revive a wine after going bad but there are many things we can do to prevent this from happening.

If you’re a wine lover who likes to collect and try different wines it’s worth thinking about building a cellar. Cellars help keep wines away from heat, air, light and vibrations that can make wine deteriorate, for all the reasons mentioned earlier in the article. Cellars don’t necessarily have to be expensive. All you need is a dark space that isn’t exposed to the sun, like your closet or a corner in your basement. There you can place a wine rack that will keep the bottles steady along with a baking tray filled with water which will provide the necessary moisture to keep your bottles oxidation-free.

Recorking the bottles as tightly as you can before putting them back in the fridge is also a great idea if you want to keep them fresh for longer. But did you know that there are handy little devices that allow you to pour a glass of your favorite wine without having to remove the cork? Or that there’s a must-have gadget that allows you to keep all your wines fresh for up to 4 weeks? And yes, it does that even for sparkling wines that are notorious for going bad really fast.

Introducing Coravin

Coravin products are a must have for all wine lovers who don’t want their favorite bottles to go to waste. They offer a wide selection of products that are guaranteed to make the last sip feel as fresh as the first.

After wine has been opened, a wine preserver aids in maintaining its freshness. It helps in reducing the rate of oxidation, which leads to wine spoilage. Wine preservers come in a variety of forms, but the most popular ones are vacuum sealers and blanket systems that employ inert gas (like argon). In order to form a vacuum seal, a vacuum sealer removes the air from the container using a pump or stopper. This delays the oxidation process by preventing oxygen from coming into touch with the wine.

At the heart of our line-up is the Coravin Timeless, a revolutionary device that lets you access wine without removing the cork, thereby preserving the remaining wine for weeks, months, or even years. It's your ticket to enjoy a glass today and another in the distant future, each as perfect as the other. Then, we have the Coravin Pivot system, a marvel that employs Argon gas to envelop the wine in the bottle, effectively preserving it for up to 4 weeks. It's all about maximizing your wine's lifespan while maintaining its pristine flavors. Lastly, let's not forget the Coravin Sparkling system, a real game-changer in preserving your favorite effervescent drinks. Whether it's Champagne, Cava, or Prosecco, the Sparkling system ensures your bubbly stays fresh and as fizzy as the day you popped the cork, for an impressive 4 weeks. With Coravin, the preservation and enjoyment of your wine are truly timeless. Plus they make a great gift.

Preserve Perfection

Click here to find the best Coravin System whether you’re looking for a gift for a loved one or for yourself. And while you’re at it, don’t forget to join Club Coravin for discounts on all refill capsules and many other benefits.

Thanks to Coravin you will never have to settle for “whatever everyone’s having” and you won’t have to feel guilty for enjoying a single glass of wine worrying that the rest of the bottle will go bad.

Trust Coravin, and you will never have to guess whether a bottle of wine is still good or not. Every sip will be fresh.