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Jan 10, 2009 03:51 PM

Does unrefrigerated, unopened wine go bad?

My dad has a bottle of white wine that he kept refrigerated for a year, then left at room temperature for a year. He has not yet opened it, but he wants to know if it could be bad from being left at room temperature. Is this possible?

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  1. The warmer a bottle of wine is, the faster it ages. Two years, one of them at room temperature, is too long for some wines, not a problem for others. Can you specify the wine's vintage, appellation and maker?

    Also, if the room ever got over 75-80ºF, chances are good that the wine is "cooked" and will taste out of whack and/or like stewed fruit. It won't be bad as in making you sick but it may not be much fun to drink.

    6 Replies
    1. re: carswell

      Very little chance that a wine getting over 75-80 degrees ONCE will be cooked. A 100 degrees maybe. The shipping conditions for most wines are so unregulated that wines frequently go thru large temprature swings and are fine. Prolonged expoisure to temps like that are generally harmful

      1. re: carswell

        Ok, there are two wines here. One is called Chateau Millet, 1990, appellation Graves Controlee. Another is Trimbach, 1991, appellation Alsace Controlee. I really don't understand anything about wine, so pardon me for any improper lingo.

        I have to amend what I said earlier. These wines have been unrefrigerated for 5 years, not just 1 year. Is there any problem?

        1. re: Fomeomega

          Even under perfect storage condition, chances are both bottles would've been pretty weak by now, in particular the Millet.
          Good news is, you won't get poisoned no matter what.

          1. re: RicRios

            That's a real shame. My dad wanted to give the wines as gifts to his friends, since they were pretty expensive when he bought them. Oh well, time to tell him the bad news...

            1. re: Fomeomega

              Instead of gifts, I'd urge your father to serve these to very close friends, and have a backup handy. The storage is likely to be less a problem, than the age of these two.

              Now, I do like my white Bdx. wines with some years on them. However, I also leave these in my cellar at 55F for that time.

              The Trimbach, depending on the exact wine (Trimbach does several, say the Cuvée Fredric Emile), it might have held up. I ascribe more longivity to GR Rieslings, than to those from Alsace - there ARE exceptions, however.

              Drink, hopefully enjoy, but have backups. Do not gift either.


              1. re: Bill Hunt

                agreed entirely, especially about the trimbach. i recently opened an 18 year old riesling from trimbach that knocked off my socks.

                no way of knowing unless your dad opens the bottles. nothing worse than waiting too long and having the bottle be all done before it ever gets opened.

      2. Sure it's possible. It's also possible that the wine is fine!

        WHAT wine is it, number one; number two, listen to what carswell has posted.