A delicious wine makes an occasion perfect. This spirited drink is not just a grape beverage with alcohol. The history of this alcoholic drink dates back to time immemorial.
There are various types of wines available, each with different preparations, different concoctions, and different serving instructions. The prices also vary enormously.
Wine is made from the pulp of red or black grapes. A fermentation process occurs with the grape skins, which gives red wine its distinct dark shade.
The fermentation process may take as long as one to two weeks when the yeast converts the sugars in the juice into ethanol and carbon dioxide.
White wine is made in a similar way with white or red grapes but the grape skins are not used.
They say that the older the wine, the better is the flavor. But sometimes, you do end up tasting bad wine. You do not have to be a wine sommelier to be able to tell that wine is bad. A few basic signs are enough to know whether a wine is good or bad.
1. Consequences of Drinking Wine Gone Bad
You may consider yourself a wine geek but sometimes, you are unsure whether the wine served to you has gone bad or not.
People buy costly wines and sometimes, you may not be able to finish the entire bottle in one go.
Storing away an opened wine bottle may alter the taste of the drink. Drinking wine gone bad may not have any harmful consequences, it just wouldn’t taste good.
In most cases, a wine has gone bad turns into vinegar.
So, if you are wondering does wine expires, then the answer is yes, it does. But it is not dangerous to drink expired wine.
You just would not want to drink it whole as it may taste terrible.
2. How to Tell if Wine is Bad
Wine experts may have acquired a deeper knowledge of this subject. But you just need to know some basics to prevent yourself and others from tasting foul wine.
You Can Tell if Wine is Bad from the Appearance:
As a general rule, a wine bottle opened for more than a week goes bad. But to ensure that the wine is not suitable for drinking, you need to see its color and appearance.
- If the wine is cloudy and leaves a film in the bottle, then it is a sign that microbial activity has begun to take place inside the bottle. This microbial activity is responsible for the vinegar-like taste.
- If the wine’s color changes to a darker shade of brown, then you need to understand that oxidative stress has occurred. Wine goes dark just as a cut apple does when exposed to oxygen. But you cannot judge a wine bottle just by its color as there are some bottles of wine that are in shades of brown.
- If the wine inside the bottle has tiny bubbles, then it is a sign that it may have gone bad. The bubbles are generated from another unplanned fermentation process occurring in the bottle. You may think that this may turn into a bottle of sparkling wine, but it is not true. The second fermentation process makes the wine sour and spritz.
You Can Tell if Wine is Bad from the Smell:
You can also tell if the wine has gone bad from its smell. Wines that smell funny, pungent, sour, or sharp may have gone bad.
Sometimes, you may open a bottle of wine to find it smelling weird. This is because of a wine fault which is found in a few bottles at the time of packaging.
A wine that has been left open for too long also may start smelling weird.
Sometimes, the smell may be medicinal or like a nail polish remover or paint thinner.
Such aromas come because the bottle may have been exposed to heat and oxygen for long and subsequent chemical reactions.
These chemical reactions cause bacteria to develop and produce acetic acid and acetaldehyde.
If you are new to smelling wine and want some tips on how to tell if wine is bad, then you can give it a whiff before you finally discard it.
When you give a whiff, you need to take a not of sour flavors and the oddly nutty aromas.
You Can Tell if Wine is Bad from the Taste:
A wine gone bad may not be harmful to your health if you taste it, but it will certainly taste bad. It is not a good idea to drink a wine that has gone bad.
The sharp sour flavor of bad wine is similar to that of vinegar. It will burn your nasal passages in a similar way as horseradish might do.
Sometimes, it may taste like caramelized applesauce because of the oxidation.
You Can Tell if Wine is Bad from the Corky Smell:
The biggest culprit for spoiled wine is commonly known as ‘cork taint’.
When a faulty cork is fitted in the bottle, it will make the wine smell like a wet dog or a corkboard.
There are different levels of cork taint. But even a mild one can overpower the flavor and smell of the fruit juice.
You certainly cannot have wine spoiled because of cork taint.
You Can Tell if Wine is Bad from Its ‘No Aroma’:
If your wine has no aroma, then probably, it is too cold. You can warm it with your hands and give is a swirl before pouring it into glasses.
If it still has no aroma, then it is best to use it for cooking and not for drinking.
3. Does Wine Expire? Can Wine Go Bad After Opening?
Wine does not spoil as it gets older. The alcohol present in the wine acts as a preservative.
Many wine bottles available on the market are older than 50 years or more. The best Vintage Port wines are made for aging.
They are stored in optimal conditions that only makes them more delicious as they age.
In some cases, a wine just gets old but does not age well.
That means that the drink may have lost its fruit flavors and begun to taste more on the nuttier side.
Even the color may have turned into a darker shade of brown. Such a drink may be compared to vinegar.
Generally, wine lasts for one to five days after being opened. You need to minimize the amount of oxygen the wine is being exposed to.
The more the amount of oxygen, the more is the oxidation.
When you store an open wine bottle, ensure that the cap is tightly placed. So, to answer the question, does wine expire after opening, the answer is yes.
It goes bad only because of the oxidation process.
4. How Long Does Wine Last?
Good wine lasts for decades in a wine cellar and when not opened at all.
An opened bottle of wine lasts the best in a refrigerator.
While wine lasts for 1 to 2 days while red wine may last for 1 to 3 weeks before it goes bad.
So, it is best to open a bottle of wine only if you have a few people to finish it or if you know for sure that you will be able to go bottoms up!
5. What To Do With Wine Gone Bad?
Do not toss your precious bottle of wine down the drain yet!
You need to analyze the degree of spoilage. If it tastes dreadful, you should dump it at once.
But only if the color has changed or it has lost its fruity flavor, you can use it in the kitchen to make a variety of dishes.
A tired bottle of wine can be used to make delicious dishes like coq au vin, pears poached in wine, spaghetti all’ubraico, and many such others.
It can also be used for cocktail mixing. You can add some heat or a punch of other flavors, but you need to be a good mixer for this.
So, use these signs to gain knowledge. These tips will add to your wine expertise and you can always differentiate wine that has gone bad.
This knowledge will also make you the expert sommelier in your group of friends and you will always be welcomed to rate different beverages!