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can you return corked wine?

I bought a of wine about a month ago, that I had never tried and loved it. I bought it again yesterday, and there was a definite bitter taste acrid kind of taste. The cork was moldy (I don't know anything about wine, so I don't know if it matters about the cork).
I know that you can return a wine at a restaurant, but can you return a bottle to a wine shop?

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  1. Yes, I had the same situation and returned it to the liquor store for a replacement.
    They apologized profusely and there was no problem.

    1. Yes, as long as it's not half empty. I forget the exact numbers but I think something like 5% of all wines using cork go bad. It's a good idea to develop a relationship with your wineshop. It's also the reason I avoid purchasing wine from supermarkets and places like Sam's club, I'm never sure how wine has been handled. I buy my wine (except when I buy direct from vineyards) from a store that stores most of it's inventory in a temperature controlled climate.

      1. Many stores will allow you to return a bottle that's corked if it's not a rare/old bottle. I suspect its a wine generally avail and not old as you were able to buy more easily. Therefore, if you return the unused corked bottle (with the liquid... just stick the cork back in it)... most stores will replace it. They give it to their salesman and get a credit for it. But you must bring back the bottle...

        ... with old/rare bottles its sort of "buyer beware"... these bottles are sold "as is" for the most part... which is why you have to know what you're doing when you buy older wine.

        1. "which is why you have to know what you're doing when you buy older wine."

          And why, more importantly, you to realize that old wines are ALWAYS a crapshoot. How the odds go depend on many factors (mostly but not only storage conditions), but it is definitely one of those things that if you're not willing/can't afford to maybe have to pour it down the drain, stick with something less iffy. If you can afford it, buy 2-3 bottles of anything you really really want to be sure of getting at least one good bottle of. (Excuse the wayward prepositions.)

            1. You should ALWAYS return a truly corked wine to the place you bought it, except in the case of something (probably old) that was purchased with an 'as is' understanding. The retailer should be able to return it to the supplier for credit. The shop should take your word for it, though I have been told about shops where the staff insisted on tasting the wine and did not agree that it was corked. If this was not an older bottle, I just don't understand that, as the supplier would never be able to do the same 'test' by the time the bottle made its way back to them weeks later. In that situation they saved a fe w dollars and lost a good customer.

              That said, (and on the store's side) my experience in the industry is that the suppliers do not fall all over themselves to do the credit for the store. That probably depends on the relationship and sales volume, but I have to keep after them when it happens. As to the 5%+ corked figure...... in my first year as aretailer I've had far less than 1% returned (in fact the actual number is .08%). Hopefully that does not indicate any significant number of unhappy customers who didn't bring back bad bottles. More likely, it means that most people cannot detect the vast majority of cork taint or other imperfectios in wine.

              1. Check your state laws. In some state all sales of alcohol are final.

                3 Replies
                1. re: chickstein

                  Yes. I guess I should have qualified my statement with that. Here in California, that's not the case. Thanks for clarifying.

                  1. re: Midlife

                    That sounds rediculous; why would any state have a law that alcohol sales are final?

                    1. re: PaulV

                      Can you return fresh fruit? vegetables? meat? to the market?

                      Keep in mind that -- at least in the U.S. -- *everything* with alcoholic beverages is a sin. On a Federal level, wine has nothing to do with the USDA, for example, nor even with the FDA. (Neither does beer or spirits, but this is the wine board.) It is regulated by the US Treasury Dept., first by ATF (Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearm), and now -- post 9/11 -- by the Tobacco Trade and Tax Bureau.

                      As far as returning wine, laws vary by state, but in California the only *legal* reason to return wine is if the bottle is "bad" (i.e.: flawed), and it can only be returned for a replacement bottle of the same wine.

                2. Yes. And you should. You should even try with an older vintage, because even if they can't refund your money or give you a replacement, if they are a good wine shop with a true appreciation for what they sell, they will try to make some kind of compensation.

                  1. Also keep in mind that some states have open container laws that make it illegal to transport any alcoholic beverage in a motor vehicle once the seal has been broken.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Greg P.

                      In most states, it is LEGAL to transport an open container in a motor vehicle providing that container is in the trunk (boot) -- out of the driver's reach.