Opening a bottle

How to Tell if Wine is Bad

Max. D Gray
By Max. D Gray. Updated: January 16, 2017
How to Tell if Wine is Bad

Enjoying a good wine is an incomparable pleasure, especially if this is accompanied by a delicious meal. Still, this drink is very delicate and any drastic change in weather or a simple change in the barrel can produce nasty alterations and the wine can end up damaged. Sometimes the final consumers who are not experts in the world of fine wine may not be able to recognise bad wine. To avoid such a tragedy, on we have some tips for you to know how to tell if wine is bad and thus avoid consuming it.

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Steps to follow:


There are several defects that a wine can have. Some of them are difficult to detect unless you are winemakers or wine tasting experts. However, others can be seen easily for those who drink and enjoy this divine drink frequently.

One of most common defects that indicates that wine is bad is when the wine smells like cork. This occurs when mold penetrates the cork and affects the whole drink. It's important because when we serve wine and pour it into a cup, the smell is accentuated as the minutes pass.

It is important to discard the bottle because it is not in good condition.

How to Tell if Wine is Bad - Step 1

Another sure sign that the wine is bad is when you detect a foul aroma and a sour taste. Wine should never taste or smell foul, so it is a signal that the wine has been damaged and that it is not advisable to consume the substance.

How to Tell if Wine is Bad - Step 2

Did it ever occur to you that when you open the wine you detect a smell of rotten apples? This is another common defect that can be found in wine. It occurs due to the oxidation of the product and it is very typical when you leave a half-consumed bottle of wine open for a few days.

It also occurs when the fermentation process has not been done properly, causing the bottle to have an odd smell. The taste of the wine will be foul, a clear sign that the wine is bad.


For white wines a strong alteration in the color, for example an orange glow, suggests that it is not in the best state for human consumption. Any other strange aroma, especially if it is a fruit based wine, is a clear sign that the wine is bad.

In the case of sludge that forms in certain bottles and which to some may seem like a nasty defect in the wine, it really is a virtue for specialists because it indicates that the wine has not been cleaned thoroughly and therefore retains many of its qualities intact, and so be a worthy product to enjoy.

How to Tell if Wine is Bad - Step 4

If you want to read similar articles to How to Tell if Wine is Bad, we recommend you visit our Food & drink category.

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How to Tell if Wine is Bad