What Happens if You Drink Bad Wine (Health Guide)


You have come home from work, and your bottle of vino is all you have been thinking about for the better part of the journey back. You get to your wine cooler, take the chilly bottle and pour yourself some. You swirl it in your glass and take in the aroma. It is not what you expected for some reason. The fruity and oaky scents aren’t there. Instead, there is an off-smell that makes you question the quality of your wine. Could it be that the wine is unfit for drinking? If so, what may happen if you drink bad wine?

Most faults with wine can be immediately identified by smell, but you have to know what smells to look out for. You can also judge the condition of your wine by looking into the glass. The color of the wine reveals whether the bottle has been exposed to air.

Be sure to also check out “How to Tell if Wine is Bad?” for our tips on determining just that.

What’s the Difference Between Flawed and Faulty Wine?

The line between faulty and flawed wine is fine. The two are differentiated by the causative agents. First, we shall deal with flawed wine.

Wine has its own characteristics and these define one from another, even in the same class of wines. Flaws can be said to be the minor differences that make a wine different from its normal state. There are many reasons a wine could be flawed. These are more about external factors than the process of making the wine or fermentation. From poor storage to serving your wine in dirty glasses, there is a whole gamut of factors that could introduce flaws to your wine.

Faults on the other hand often arise in the winemaking process or fermentation. While flaws may depend on the person’s preference, faults can make the bottle of wine undrinkable. That said, wine goes through a rigorous process before it can reach the consumer, and you are not likely to find a substandard bottle on the shelves.

What May Happen if You Drink Bad Wine?

You can certainly get sick from drinking too much Sauvignon Blanc, but that’s how it is with everything. Overindulgence always comes with undesirable effects. However, if your main concern is whether wine goes bad as it gets older, then you can rest assured that it doesn’t!

There is a tendency for red wines to turn into vinegar when they go bad. This gives the wine a taste and smell that is not the most appealing. Though the vinegar wine may not be drinkable anymore, it is not chemically contaminated and should not harm you.

Wine can only be bad for human consumption in cases where it is contaminated with pathogens that can be harmful to human beings. This is very rare, and you would have to intentionally contaminate your wine for it to happen. The main reason wine can hardly be contaminated so much that it is harmful to human beings is due to the alcohol in there. The alcohol content in wine acts as a bactericide and keeps it safe for drinking.

Be sure to also check out “How Long is Wine Good for After You Open It?” to see how long your bottle will last for.

How to Identify a Flawed Bottle of Wine

Bubbles in the Wine

If this occurs, then you will notice that the wine has some fizz when it should be still. This is a red flag that indicates there is fermentation still going on in the bottle. This is not a good sign. You should ask for another bottle and a change of brands if the second bottle comes with the same defect. If this was the last bottle in the wine cellar, then you might feel hard-pressed to let it go to waste. The good news is that you can drink the wine as it is and enjoy the sparkling effect, even though that wasn’t the plan.

A Smell of Vinegar or Nail Polish Remover

This nail polish remover or vinegar smell is a sign that your wine has been invaded by acid bacteria that has been actively changing its taste. The defect is known as volatile acidity. Although it does affect the wine, this is not necessarily a bad thing. You can sip away at your drink, even though it may not have the aftertaste you expected. People with any kind of sensitivity to acidity should stay away from such a bottle as it may cause a burning sensation.

Smells like Cooked Cabbage or Burnt Rubber

This is a fault in wine making that rarely occurs. It is the result of undesirable compounds of sulfur that develop in the wine making process. In this case, you are better off choosing another bottle.

Take a look at “How to Make Wine Taste Better” to see if you can salvage your questionable bottle of wine.

The Wine has a Brown Pigment

Wine takes on a color browner than usual when exposed to air. Red wine oxidizes to lose the bright color, changing to purple. This fault should be expected for both red and white wine in the case of aged wines. However, if the wine has only aged for a year or two, then this is an indication that it has been exposed to too much oxygen from the air. You can observe this if you leave a perfectly fine bottle of wine in the open air for a few days.

Grab some air-tight wine bottle toppers to ensure this never occurs!

When it comes to wine production, there is very little that could go wrong. That said, wine can easily lose its original taste through simple defects that could be avoided. To ensure you wine stays in the right condition, you ought to store it the proper way. However, landing in a hospital is not what happens when you drink bad wine.

Thank you for reading with us today! Let us know in the comments below which methods you are using to try to make your wine taste better. Also, give us a follow on Instagram and Facebook for everything wine related. Tag us in your wine related posts for a chance to be featured on our pages!

Be sure to also check out some of our other interesting articles like “What is Cooking Wine?“, “How to Drink Wine the Correct Way“, or “How to Recork Wine like a Pro“.

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