What makes wine go bad?

In this brief article, we will provide you with the answer to the question: “What makes wine go bad?”, discuss if it is dangerous to drink bad tasting wine, and talk about how to store wine. 

What makes wine go bad?

Most of the time wine does not go bad. Wines do not deteriorate since they do not have a set shelf life. However, this does not rule out the possibility of defects in beverages.

Labels with a cork stopper, for example, can be affected by the fungus trichloroanisole, which gives the wine a disagreeable odor and flavor. In such instances, it is usual to describe the drink as tasting like a cork.

When exposed to too much oxygen during fermentation, problems in the winemaking process might result in labels with a high concentration of acetic acid. As a result, the drink takes on a vinegary flavor.

Once opened, wines will inevitably alter in scents and tastes as time passes. This is due to the fact that contact with air causes an oxidation process, which alters the acidity, aromas, and tastes of the wine.

Furthermore, if the label is not used within its storage time or is exposed to oxygen for an extended period of time, it turns to vinegar, giving the drink a strong and disagreeable flavor.

Is it dangerous for you to drink bad tasting wine?

No. Wine flaws jeopardize aromas, tastes, and acidity levels. This process alters the flavor, but this does not imply that labels with altered flavor pose a health concern, because the alcohol in the drink prevents the creation of dangerous microorganisms in the body.

In other words, the notion that spoiled wine is terrible is incorrect. Because wine does not decay, faulty labels are, at best, unpleasant to the tongue.

How do you tell whether a bottle of wine is spoiled?

Examine the cork

When diagnosing a faulty wine, certain analyses are feasible. First, determine if the cork is dry, moist, or has a distinct odor.

When the label is placed vertically and the beverage is not in touch with the cork, this drying can occur, and the material is more susceptible to the formation of fungus, which causes the scent to alter.

Furthermore, soaking indicates that the wine has spilled through the cork and, as a result, has come into contact with air, causing the wine to oxidize.

Analyze  the scent

The smell of the drink is often a useful indicator. If the wine smells like vinegar after a few days of being opened, dump it.

Analyze the color

As the bottle is exposed to air, the color of the wine might also change.

Take a taste if none of the foregoing evidence is sufficient to prove that the drink is defective. As the label grows more acidic and imbalanced on the mouth, the flavor will change dramatically.

How to store wine?

After selecting, purchasing, and getting your wine at home, you must understand how to preserve it in order to maximize its benefits. 

Every wine enthusiast has a location in their house where they keep their bottles, and this care is required to protect the quality of the wine, to keep tastes and fragrances for longer, and to enjoy the drink even after a few months or years of purchase.

The wine undergoes alterations. If it is not properly preserved, it might degrade and acquire undesirable properties.

Locations distant from light are preferred

Your bottle should be shielded from direct sunlight and bright light bulbs. These rays, together with high heat, may wreak havoc on your beverage. As a result, basements and cellars are frequently gloomy areas.

Prefer cool places

In general, wines should be stored in a cool place. The optimal temperature for storage is between 12 and 16ºC, with little variation.

There is no risk of the wine decaying if the temperature is slightly higher than that and you plan to eat it within a few days. Temperatures above 25ºC might be harmful to the drink.

Look for a well-ventilated area

It is important to keep bottles in an open area since confined and stuffy situations encourage the growth of fungus that can harm the cork and, as a result, destroy the contents. Look for a location with sufficient ventilation so that air may readily travel between the bottles.

Keep your wine away from unstable areas

The wine storage area should be sturdy so that the bottle does not slide around needlessly. Shelves and appliances are not suitable storage alternatives for wine. It is preferable to leave them on the floor or in a piece of furniture with enough room, such as a beehive. Avoid touching the wines as well. Simply remove it from the area where you intend to consume it.

There have been studies that show that both horizontal and vertical storage are viable options. However, leaving the bottles horizontal is preferred by experts since it helps to hydrate the cork and prevents the drink from drying out and oxidizing.

Remain aware of the storage time

Wines have an expiry date, therefore the belief that the older the wine, the better it tastes is debunked. Not all varieties of beverages respond well to the passage of time; most may be preserved for two to 10 years, with whites being more sensitive.

To guarantee that the liquid does not deteriorate, it is necessary to not only store it carefully but also monitor its duration, even under ideal storage settings. You will no longer have to worry about how to store your wine if you follow all of the rules. 

Other FAQs about Wine that you may be interested in.

What can I substitute for red wine?

What has more alcohol, wine or beer?

How to counteract too much red wine in the sauce?

How to counteract too much white wine vinegar?


In this brief article, we provided you with the answer to the question: “What makes wine go bad?”, discussed if it is dangerous to drink bad tasting wine, and talked about how to store wine. 


Fausto. “Vinho estraga? Entenda como identificar bebidas com defeito!” Divvino – Conheça tudo sobre o mundo dos vinhos (blog), 8 de outubro de 2021. https://www.divvino.com.br/blog/vinho-estraga/.