How to tell if a bottle of wine has gone bad

Kateryna Dutik

How to understand if wine has turned sour - signs of spoiled wine
How to understand that wine has gone bad

The phrase "age like wine" takes on a different meaning when it comes to a bottle that has been opened. Wine in an airtight container can age (and improve) for decades, but the drink starts to lose its appeal after exposure to air.

A bottle of wine tastes best right after it's opened, but if you can't finish it in one sitting, there's an easy way to tell if it's gone bad. Eat This, Not That writes about it.

Experts say that oxygen is the enemy of good wine. Oxidation will dramatically change the flavor profile of the drink. On a minute scale, this change can be positive (this is what sommeliers mean when they say "let your wine breathe"), but anything longer than a night will have negative consequences.

An old uncorked wine won't win any tasting competition, but it won't hurt. It's ideal if you're looking for something to drink at home, especially if you've refrigerated the bottle, which slows down the oxidation process.

Most red and white wines can be kept in the refrigerator for two to five days before they start to deteriorate. "Bad" in this case means that oxygen molecules have turned the wine into vinegar. It is dangerous to drink.

The easiest way to tell if your wine has reached this stage is to use your senses. If it smells or tastes like vinegar, it is likely that the point of no return has already been passed. A brownish tint and bubbles in non-sparkling wine can also be signs of spoilage. As soon as you notice these signs, it's time to pour the bottle down the drain and open a new one.

Red and white wine has a longer shelf life after corking than sparkling wine, which quickly begins to lose its fizz as soon as it is bottled.

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