How to Identify Spoiled Wine in Your Cellar

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There’s no greater disappointment for wine lovers who have taken the time to cultivate and age a fine wine for 10 to 15 years and then to finally open it and discover that it’s completely spoiled. The best way to avoid this scenario is to periodically check on each bottle of wine in your collection as it is ageing. Also, storing your wine in a high-quality custom wine cellar that’s tailored specifically to your needs can help you to easily spot the potential for spoilage before it happens.

Don’t Let a Good Wine Go Bad

One of the most common ways a wine can become spoiled is if it becomes “corked.” Corked wine refers to wine that has gone bad because a chemical or fungus from the cork contaminates the wine. The process of “corking” can often take several months, which is why it can be hard to prevent it from happening—the corking process may have already begun long before you even purchased the wine. There are a few tell-tale signs, however, that determine whether wine is either in the process of becoming spoiled or has already become spoiled that you should be aware.
custom wine cellar

Unexpected Bubbling

In the wine industry, this is referred to as “secondary fermentation” and it can be a very big deal. While some winemakers purposely re-ferment their wines to give them a bolder flavour, some wines simply aren’t meant to be extra bubbly. The best way to tell whether the wine you’re purchasing is intentionally bubbly is to do your research before purchasing it. If the bubbles aren’t supposed to be there, then you should most definitely return the wine.

Highly Volatile Flavour

This is another circumstance in which thorough research goes a long way because a volatile flavour doesn’t always mean the wine is faulty. In some cases, it’s the winemaker’s intent to make their wine more acidic by adding a larger volume of acetic acid. This gives the wine a more complex, vinegary taste and aroma that some wine drinkers might enjoy while others might not. However, if the wine you’re purchasing generally isn’t supposed to have a volatile flavour, it could be a sign that the wine was improperly stored and has spoiled.

Corkiness

Like most aspects of life, good wine needs everything in moderation. Some acidity and oxygen content is good for developing different aromas in wine, but too much can result in “corkiness.” Corkiness occurs when wine is improperly stored in a commercial or personal environment. The cork dries out and shrinks, ultimately letting too much oxygen into the bottle, which alters the chemical balance, taste, and scent of the wine. As every wine lover is well aware, optimal wine storage involves laying the bottles on their sides so that the cork always remains moist. From time to time, you should rotate the bottles to keep all parts of the cork moist, but do it very gently so that you don’t overly disturb the natural chemical formation of the liquid inside.

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