Can Wine Go Bad

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does wine go bad

Most adults like to have a glass of red or white wine after a long day of work and with their dinner or dessert. Wine is one of the most popular alcoholic beverages in the world, and there are many connoisseurs out there who enjoy collecting different bottles of wine as their hobby. There are other consumers who like to buy wine boxes in bulk or other people who enjoy buying wine bottles en masse when there’s a big sale at the local supermarket or farmers’ market. It’s important if you’re investing a lot of time and money in buying wine bottles or boxes to know how long it can last and how to tell if the wine has gone bad or not. The ultimate question remains; does wine go bad?

Does Wine Go Bad? Does it Expire?

Yes, wine can go bad and expire. It depends on the quality of the wine and if the bottle has been opened or not. Unopened, good-quality wine can stay in the cool cellar or a cabinet for many years and actually improve the taste with age.

The shelf life of wine also depends on other factors, such as the preparation method, vintage, label, and how it is stored. Generally, budget wines are not meant for storing extended amounts of time or “cellaring”. Shelf wines should be consumed while young and fresh, quite soon after your purchase.

The Lifespan of Wine

Before we answer this important question, it’s important for consumers to know how long the lifespan of wine is. Unfortunately, wine does not last forever and it eventually will go bad. However, if you have a bottle of wine and it’s unopened while being stored in a cool area like a cellar or cabinet, then the wine will last for many years. It’s quite common for wine connoisseurs to store their wine bottles and create a collection that can last for many years. If you’re buying an inexpensive kind of wine from a place like Trader’s Joe’s, and it’s of lower quality, then you should only store the wine for about a year or two and then use it before it goes bad. If you’re storing bottles of wine and you haven’t opened them yet, it’s important to realize that wine ages over time, and that will improve the taste and texture of the alcohol.

Because wine ages, the taste can change and have more flavor after many years. Remember that aged wine does not mean that it has gone bad. On the contrary, it will be even better than before, provided that it’s stored in a cool place and the drink hasn’t been opened before. A wine that is stored properly needs to be laid horizontally or on its’ side in order to keep the cork moistened. This is done to ensure that the cork won’t deteriorate in its’ structure if its’ less exposed to outside elements. If the cork is heavily exposed to air, this will cause holes to develop in the cork, and it will start to loosen up. A weakened cork will cause the wine to stop its’ aging process and the wine will go bad prematurely.

Here are additional tips on when to know if your wine has gone bad:

Opening The Wine

If you decide to open up your bottle of wine to share with your guests, friends, or family, then you need to understand that the bottle of wine will only be good for a couple of days or up to a week in total. The quicker you drink the wine after opening it, the better it will taste overall. If you wait and delay consumption, the chances are greater that the taste and texture of wine won’t be as good. If you re-cork the wine after usage and want to store it for a later date, it’s important to keep the wine bottle in a cool spot in the refrigerator. A cellar or cabinet that is dark and cold would also be a good option when storing an opened wine. After opening the bottle, it’s important to use the original cork and seal it tightly if you decide to use it again at a later time. If the original cork is damaged or doesn’t fit as properly, you can buy a wine stopper from a local store to preserve the opened wine.

Signs of Bad Wine

Now that we know how to store wine properly and how long the product can last, what are the signs to look for when it comes to bad wine?

  • The smell is not the same and has a weird odor to it. If the smell of the wine is like vinegar, cardboard, or another odd composition, then the wine has changed for the worse.
  • For red wine when exposed to heat or excess air, red wine will start to taste sweeter than normal and eventually become too sweet and too undrinkable for the average consumer.
  • If the cork has been pushed too far out from the inside of the wine bottle, it has been exposed too much to air and other outside elements. The cork has expanded and has diluted the taste of the wine.
  • If the wine’s color starts to change to a brown or yellow color instead of a red or light yellow color, then the wine has become too oxidized and has lost much of its flavor or texture.


Overall, to test to see if your wine has gone bad or not, you need to smell the wine and look at the actual color of the wine. It’s okay to sample a bit of the wine and do a light taste test. You won’t get sick from a simple taste test and it will save you from wasting a whole glass.

Your wine has most likely gone bad if you notice that it does not have an aroma or it smells like burned rubber, cooked cabbage, nail polish remover, or vinegar, has bubbles (when it’s not meant to), or the color is browner.

Remember to look out for the steps listed above when it comes to recognizing bad wine and you’ll be fine. Enjoy this delicious adult beverage responsibly! Cheers!

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I am a mother of four children and I love cooking healthy, nourishing meals for them. When I can find a little free time, I enjoy sharing my knowledge with others at Bakeaholicmama.

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