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Sep 4, 2010 08:05 AM

cheap wine made me sick...

i bought this Overlake Sauvignon Blanc $5.99 or $4.99 at Trader Joes. The first glass I drank was ok. The next night, i poured myself a 4oz glass (i know, a bit anal but i'm watching my weight so i'm measuring everything) and the wine tasted ok but started to get really difficult to drink towards the end of the glass with a really abrasive alcohol taste. it gave me a knot in my stomach and when i went to bed an hour, later my breath was really heavy with alcohol like i drank night train or something.

is it b/c the wine was so cheap? i'm assuming cheaper wines use cheaper processes or ingredients. am i correct? i like drinking wine but don't know much about it. just for the record i had a full dinner and had the wine afterwards like a dessert.

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  1. Hard to know for certain whether the wine you drank was the culprit (here's hoping you feel better!), but cheap wine can cause gastric distress sometimes, especially for folks who don't drink often. Maybe consign the rest of the bottle for cooking and find something a bit more agreeable next time?

    1. are you sure someone didn't spike your glass with vodka or something? I never tasted a harsh alcohol flavor in wine, even cheap stuff.What is more likely with the rotgut is a bad headache because of the impurities called congeners,but possibly nausea too.

      1. Cheap wines are often made with ultra-fast, hot fermentations, which form toxic alcohols (congeners). The alcohol smell is extremely common in cheap wine. It's also extremely common for cheap wine to make you sick as you drink it and give you a wicked hangover.

        Avoid the brand you just drank. If you're trying to save money, drink inexpensive wine, not cheap wine. Lots of recs of good buys here on the wine board.

        5 Replies
        1. re: maria lorraine

          Wiley- No, silly! not unless the good people at Overlake decided to spike their wine, i'm pretty certain there was no vodka in it.

          maria lorraine- thank you for your reply. this is exactly the kind of answer i was looking for. last night i decided the wine wasn't even worthy of cooking with so i poured it down the drain. when i poured it it smelled so strong of alcohol as if it was whiskey. i've had some luck with inexpensive wines but i'm sticking to $7.99 and over from now on. i feel like that's been the magic price which separates the undrinkable from the drinkable. in the past i have drank some wines that were "cheap" a lot of spanish from trader joe's and tasted just fine.

          1. re: trolley

            Wow, when we did a tasting in the store a few weeks ago, none of us had that kind of reaction.
            Overlake isn't one of the best wines I've had, but its far from the worst. If you've kept your receipt and your bottle, bring it back to your local store and tell them you weren't happy with it.
            Perhaps they might do a return? Glad you're feeling better.

            1. re: BigWoodenSpoon

              you're right. i should have kept the receipt and the bottle but that's now history. to be fair, the first glass was fine. far from perfect but not nasty. it tasted like an ok drinkable inexpensive wine. it was on the second night we faced all the problems. i vacuum sealed it after it was opened as well which i think may keep it a tad bit longer.

              1. re: trolley

                Oh well, hopefully it won't happen again.
                BTW, I've found some of the lower-end S.B.'s have a tendency not to keep very well after they've been open for a while. We've had bottles opened in the morning for a Tasting and kept in the fridge until the evening Tasting that had lost some of their brightness and pizazz. Sometimes even a Vacuvin can't help.

                1. re: BigWoodenSpoon

                  good to know. i'm back to the geyser peak 2008 SB. $8.99 never tasted so good!

        2. Unfortunately, buying Trader Joes' branded wines is not a dependably good--or bad--experience. Think of Forrest Gump and his box of chocolates...

          My wife buys the house wines regularly at TJ's, and my latest rules of thumb are: the Cabs and Shiraz DO have a very alcoholic nose, and the Chardonnays are flabby and almost bitter. But we HAVE had some of each of those that are OK (not good, just drinkable). The Pinot Gris--at least what's in the store right now--while almost colorless, is mostly inoffensive.

          My advice is find a local wine shop and peruse the recommendations here and elsewhere.

          1. The problem with cheap wine is that producers generally have to take inferior grapes and/or juice and manipulate them to get them to taste right. Cheaply-made wines tend to have lots of impurities, cogeners, and additives in them - it's just like processed food. Check this blog from Vinography which cites a a report by the International Organisation of Vine and Wine.