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Jul 13, 2009 07:49 PM

What to do with a lot of old, bad wine?

This may not be the right place to ask this, however, I will give it a shot. I am a lover of good wine, have a wine fridge, etc. Someone I know who does not drink and knows nothing about wine brought about 20 bottles to my house recently. They are all bottles that were bad when they were bottled, and are probably even worse now. Many are as old as the 1980s, many are whites that should never have been "cellared," all bad wine. To top it off, I live in New Orleans and there is almost a 100% chance these bottles were improperly stored and probably stayed in a flooded house after Katrina, in 90 degree weather for weeks. To sum it up, I now have 20 bottles of terrible, skunked wine.

What can I do with them? I looked up instructions on how to make my own wine vinegar. I will probably do this, but there is only so much of my homemade wine vinegar the world needs. I tried to get rid of most of it on freecycle but they don't allow me to post offerings of alcohol. I feel bad just pouring it all down the sink, despite how terrible this wine is.

Should I just trash all these bottles and not worry about this totally worthless wine? Or is there some use I can put them to, something I have not thought of yet?

Thanks for answering this very odd question.

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  1. hmm, well, New Orleans does have a lot of winos who'd gladly drink the whole batch, but not sure if you want to contribute to their downward slide...

    why don't you open one bottle as a test: while you know the wines are poor quality, you could test the skunkiness...if they are skunked beyond anyone's conceivable palatibility, then throw them away...if they are merely crap wine without much heat damage, you could prob find someone in NOLA who'd enjoy drinking them or turning them into some kind of trailerpark sangria...

    All the other suggestions i can think of involve practical jokes or self-defense...good luck!

    1 Reply
    1. re: Simon

      Thanks, that is the most sensible answer I could possibly expect.

    2. Before trashing them, taste them. If they're not horrible, they can be used for cooking as well as for making vinegar.

      2 Replies
        1. re: zin1953


          There may be some surprises in there.

          A few years ago I went into a dirty dusty basement room, where a friend's deceased father had stored bottles of wine for 20-40 years. We cracked a bunch of them, and sure there were some "skunked" bottles, but there were also some tasty offerings, most notably the old capital-C Champagne. Give your bottles a taste, and have your acetobacter "mother" and crock handy.

      1. If they are skunked, they are useless. Pour them off. There are various reasons why a bottle can be fouled -- cork failure, poor bottling technique, bad winery hygene -- and all of them mean the wine is damaged beyond repair.

        If they are damanged in this way you can't make vinegar out of them either. Vinegar can be made from oxidized, left-over wine. But if you start with foul tasting, damaged wine, you will end up with lousy vinegar.

        But if the wines are biologically intact, by all means open them up, give them a whiff, taste 'em and see what you have. Aging can make even bad wines interesting.

        The old whites? Well, there's always stain removal. Drown a red wine stain in white wine -- it really works if you hit the stain before it dries.