Is Oxidized Red Wine Actually Safe To Drink?

If you're not really familiar with wine or what it means for it to oxidize, it essentially means that the wine has gone bad. According to Wine Spectator, oxidation is what happens when a wine is exposed to air. That's why a wine bottle has a cork or a screw top to seal the container up tight. That way, the wine ideally does not begin to spoil until after it is opened. But once a bottle of wine is open, it doesn't take long for the process of oxidation to begin, no matter how careful you are about re-sealing that vessel. In fact, you might even taste its effects just a couple of days after you've removed the cork.

When a wine begins to spoil, it tends to taste bitter and far more flat than when you first sipped it. All of the finer flavor notes and aromatic elements you might have detected before usually disappear. But worst of all, a wine that oxidizes ultimately turns into vinegar with time as George Skouroumounis, a chemist at the University of Adelaide, told Wine Spectator. That said, for your wine to fully become vinegar, it would need to sit open for many weeks to develop the right amount of acetic acid.

But, if you're feeling brave or perhaps accidentally downed some of the stuff, can you still drink oxidized red wine and be okay?

This is what happens when you drink oxidized red wine

Red wine tends to oxidize slower than white wine because it contains far more tannins, says Wine Spectator. Those tannins act as a kind of shield that helps to protect and preserve the wine. But even tannins break down with time. It's just a slower process for red wine since there are so many more tannins in the vintage than in white.

The good news is that it is totally safe to drink oxidized red wine, so long as you do so in moderation, according to Medical News Today. But, though it's unlikely to harm you, you still might not want to drink it, as it probably won't taste very good at all. Nor will the red wine have the same aroma or notes that it did when it was first opened. And why would you force yourself to drink acidic, off-flavor wine anyway? Oxidized red wine that's been open for a few days should still taste decent, but a bottle that's been open for months definitely won't be pleasing to taste.