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Does wine spoil?

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  • leeau Jul 19, 2008 02:24 AM
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Hi all,

I have

1) a bottle of red wine that has been sitting in my refrigerator for about a year now, unopened

2) a bottle of white wine that had been sitting in my refrigerator for a year, opened two weeks ago, and left in room temperature with the cork on

Can I still use these for cooking?

For those who are wondering why this happened in the first place:
1) a year ago, I bought some cheap wine for cooking
2) then my mom came to live with me for a year and took over the kitchen completely..
3) she left just few days ago, and now I'm organizing the fridge

It's too bad that we both are unfamiliar with wine and rather forgetful. Two weeks ago we found the bottles in the darkest corner of the fridge and out of curiosity opened a bottle and tasted. It was pretty awful. But mom thought that alcoholic beverage like wine cannot spoil and it was still ok to use for cooking if not for drinking.
Now I am not sure if it is really safe.

Could someone please give me some advice on this, and maybe also on how I can keep wine that I cook with for a long time? Thank you.

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  1. The first one will probably be good; open it when you want to use it and if it's good enough to drink, well, it's good enough to use for cooking.

    Was the second one good to drink after sitting one year in the fridge ? answer this and you will probably answer the first question.

    EVERY wine that is left standing on the counter for two weeks after it was openned will be bad, very bad.

    In general, well, always, if you cannot drink a wine, you cannot use it for cooking.

    You could freeze left-over wine to be used for cooking at a later time, use icecube trays and after put them in ziplock bags; I've never done it, so I cannot tell if it works or nort

    1. Depends on what you mean by "spoiling". Wine certainly can deteriorate and be unpleasant to drink/cook with. It mostly gets oxidized, so tastes nutty (like sherry, in a bad way). Stored in the fridge, it might throw tartrate crystals (esp. the red wine which was never meant to be stored at a low temp for a long time). But it can't "spoil" in the sense of making you sick, like milk or meat can. The only way wine can make you sick is if you drink too much and get a hangover.

      1. I don't know any spoiling secrets. I do know that what Maximilien said is true, don't cook with wine that you can't/wouldn't drink. If you're not sure just smell/taste the wine before using it. I rarely cook with expensive wine anyway, so if it's bad just chunk it!

        1. YES, wine can spoil. One example of that is vinegar.

          That said, no known human pathogen can live in wine. What that means is that "bad" wine won't kill you, but if it tastes bad --

          a) why drink it?

          and b) why cook with it???

          Distilled spirits are inert and will not "go bad," although they can lose some of their alcoholic content over time. Both beer and wine are not distilled; they are living liquids that change over time -- sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse, but always there is a finite limit to how long a wine (and beer, for that matter) will improve with age . . .

          1. Red wine's fine, if it's unopened. The white wine ... I'd suggest buying a bottle of an inexpensive dry white wine at the market. Then keep iit in the fridge with a cork in it. Use it within a couple of weeks. And as you may know, never buy anything called cooking wine. That label means it's undrinkable.

            1 Reply
            1. re: mpalmer6c

              Never COOK with anything called coking wine, either! Nnot only is it undrinkable, it's "un-cookable," too . . .