How To Tell If Your Wine Has Gone Bad

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All month long, we are paying homage to the mighty grape. Grab a glass and join us as we Wine Down.

Corked wine is a clear sign that your wine has gone bad, but how do you know exactly when it happens, what caused it and what you can do about it?

You've got questions? We've got answers.  

When your wine corks, it means it has been contaminated with cork taint, giving off a musty and moldy smell, and will taste weak and dull.

Scientifically speaking, wine is corked when it has been "spoiled by a chemical compound called 2,4,6-trichloroanisole" (TCA for short). It does not mean that there are pieces of cork floating in the wine. TCA develops when natural fungi come into contact with bleaches or chlorine products that were used to disinfect the cork when it was being made.

About 2 to 3 percent of bottled wines are affected by cork taint, according to Wine Folly.

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Technically, corked wine isn't bad for you; however, the smell and taste is pretty off-putting. Just remember: Bad wine can happen to good people. So if you're a victim of corking, feel free to return the wine to the place of purchase or send the bottle back when dining at a restaurant.