HOME > Chowhound > Wine >


What do I do with crappy homemade wine given as a gift...

Local man and customer of ours makes some type of wine-I think mullberry or some fruit...He has one of those pro style cork things so its pretty serious. I guess he gives them out every year to lucky friends and we got one last year. It was horrible. We each had a sip and dumped the rest out....
To my shock, we received another bottle last Christmas.
Can I regift it to a friend who likes wine or should I dump it out.....Ann
PS I will send it to anyone here who wants it...

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I'd just continue to thank him (oh, that's so thoughtful -- because it is) -- and pour it down the drain -- or keep it to see if someone else might like it. I wouldn't regift it, though -- I'd tell them up front that the guy makes it, but you don't care for it -- they're welcome to it if they'd like to try it.

    This one is an entry under "it's the thought that counts"

    1. I'd try to cook with it - try reducing it or something, then swirling a little butter, some garlic, etc. into it.

      3 Replies
      1. re: jeanmarieok

        I'm not sure about garlic in a fruit wine like Mulberry. They're meant more as an aperitif, I believe, rather than something to cook with.

        And you really should never cook with any wine you wouldn't want to drink.

        1. re: Bacardi1

          I have to disagree, (re cooking)

          perhaps lightly reduced into a marinade/glaze for a pork roast or duck. or add sugar and reduce it in a most brutal manner into a syrup for crepes etc.

          purposefully turn it into vinegar for a vinegarette (albeit one only fit for salad at a bridge club luncheon 50 years ago)

          1. re: hill food

            hill food and I are on the same page with this one - my first two [and only] thoughts were to use it in a gastrique or turn it into vinegar.

      2. I am hesitate to cook with it...or marinate with it.....Since I won't drink it..I appreciate the gift, and the thought is wonderful.
        Think about it this way-what would YOU do if a friend make a batch of strawberry jam and it was awful.
        Ask if any others had imput? Tell them the flavor was off? Be honest.
        Would YOU like to know?
        Maybe it wasn't just us. Was it a bad batch?!? Ann

        2 Replies
        1. re: annfaulkner

          "Oh what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive". I grew up hearing that and, to this day when situations like yours come up, I tell the truth. Better than feeling guilty every year when this guy gives you wine (which he thinks you enjoy) and you dump it.

          1. re: grampart

            I'm on the other side -- he works hard to make it, he's extremely proud of it -- there is absolutely nothing good that will come from telling him you don't like it.

            Should he ever directly ask "do you like it?" I would be honest in the gentlest way I could find -- but I'd never say "hey, stop giving me this; it sucks."

            And this is a customer with whom there is obviously a good relationship -- the downside of telling him it's bad is far greater than "Thank you, that's so thoughtful" -- which is NOT a lie.

        2. smile and then later, throw out ASAP!

          1. I dunno . . . why is this so difficult?

            >>> Can I regift it to a friend who likes wine? <<<

            Why? So YOU can blamed for really $#|++/ wine???

            Just be polite: smile, say "thank you," and pour it down the drain . . . but I'd taste it first: you never know; you might not have to fake it!

            1 Reply
            1. re: zin1953

              I agree to taste it first. Maybe his wine is improving. Maybe you just got a bad bottle last year. The first bottle a winemaking friend gave me had oxidized. I dumped it and told him, but that was easy - sometimes you're going to get a bad bottle (his wine is otherwise very good).

            2. Like I said, how would YOU take the news-" I appreciate the dish you left me when I was sick. So thoughtful. I was unable to enjoy it since I am on a sodium restricted diet and both cream of mushroom soup and canned tuna are very high in Sodium...Perhaps the single mom in 1719 would like it....." I cringe. I hate to be dishonest, but.....I don't want to hurt your feelings.

              6 Replies
              1. re: annfaulkner

                I'm sorry, ann -- but you have three options, and (IMHO) the choice is easy:

                a) Return it, and say, "I appreciate the thoughtfulness of your gift. No doubt you put a lot of time and effort into making your homemade wine. But the last one was so crappy, I'm afraid to open this one without a HazMat receptacle standing by."

                b) Give it to someone else, so that they -- in turn -- can say to YOU, "I appreciate the thoughtfulness of your gift. No doubt you put a lot of time and effort into making your homemade wine. But the last one was so crappy, I'm afraid to open this one without a HazMat receptacle standing by."

                c) Tell a little white lie, and graciously say "Thank you."

                OK, if you really think you will be eternally damned for one little white lie, you can place the bottle precariously on the edge of the kitchen counter, accidentally-on-purpose knock it off its perch, and then you can honestly say, "It broke before I had a chance to try it; I'm so sorry." The problem, of course, is that you are more than likely to receive a second bottle -- this time coated in bubble wrap . . .

                1. re: zin1953

                  A simple "thank you" is not really a white lie. A white lie would be to say "it was so delicious." Saying thank you is the gracious way to acknowledge the giver's generous impulse, regardless of whether the gift is to your taste .

                  Beyond that, if you think there is some chance that last year's bottle was aberrationally off, then try a taste of this year's. If this year's is likewise undrinkable, then just pitch it and resign yourself that this may be an annual ritual. He means well. I don't think there is anyway to tell him that you don't care for the gift that will not hurt his feelings.

                  1. re: masha

                    " I don't think there is anyway to tell him that you don't care for the gift that will not hurt his feelings".

                    I think there is.

                    1. re: grampart

                      Please give your suggested wording.

                      1. re: sunshine842

                        Something like...Oh, you put so much effort into making your wines and we know they're very special to you. We really don't drink much fruit wine -- our tastes run more towards regular wine -- and we know someone else might love it much more than we would. But we're so grateful you thought of us to share one of your special bottles with.

              2. You can't regift it to someone who likes wine, maybe someone who doesn't like wine but definitely not someone who does.

                1. It might be a tasty vehicle for poaching pears. I did that once with a NC Scuppernong wine that otherwise was (to me) undrinkable.

                  1. Thank them profusely, and then pour it down the drain, unless a taste reveals that it is better, than anticipated.

                    We get such, taste, and usually throw away, but only after a thank you card.


                    1. Just be gracious and say thank you and then seal your lips shut. If this bottle is as bad as the first, just toss it out.

                      1. "It is discouraging how many people are shocked by honesty and how few by deceit". Noel Coward

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: grampart

                          why would you go so far out of your way to hurt the guy's feelings, when it's so darn easy to be gracious?

                          1. re: sunshine842

                            A gentle deflect does not hurt feelings, it simply explains the giftee's position. Emphasis on "gentle." The gentle deflect applies to any gift that might be precious to the giver but not to the giftee.

                            There are many inappropriate food and wine gifts -- it would be the same as offering a prized single-malt scotch to someone who doesn't drink scotch. Or imported French handmade cheeses to a vegan. You thank the person so much for thinking of you, acknowledge the specialness of the thought, and say, gently, that you (we) wouldn't be able to enjoy it because you don't drink scotch/eat cheese/insert item.

                            There are some exceptions to the gentle deflect, when using it isn't appropriate (children's homemade gifts, for example), but a gentle deflect mostly is honest and respectful of both gifter and giftee.

                        2. Lay it down in a dark cool place for at least 5 years.
                          I used to make wine - a lot of it is really vile until it has aged a while. Some, admittedly, remains vile - but others become surprisingly delicious.

                          1. I could not bring myself to directly criticize a gift or offend the friend who made it. Assuming you want to put it to some use other than as target practice, consider adding a portion to a marinade for roast or grilled leg of lamb. I have always enjoyed lamb marinades using high density Zinfandels or big Syrahs (along with garlic, rosemary, shallots, lemon zest, salt/pepper) so the intense fruit flavor could well fit in there.

                            In a parallel universe we have a friend who made homemade red wine from decent wine grapes purchased in bulk from Sonoma Cty but rather than buying a new oak barrel for aging, he found a bargain and bought used whiskey barrels thinking he would just retoast the interior with a propane torch. Needless to say the result was red, it was wine, but the flavor profiles were burnt, not toast whiskey flavors that simply had no redeeming value, even in just miniscule pours, whether iced or room temperature. We still have his annual gift bottles in our wine cellar where space is no problem and stashed along side some other collectibles we never intend to consume....but they are in places of honor and our friendship endures.

                            1. ehh, it's nothing that can't be enabled by a little sympathy and arsenic.

                              "oh Teddy! there seems to be another Malaria victim...yes and in the drawing room this time"

                              1. SOLUTION-my DH's friend took it, he drank half of it last night and got hammered....

                                  1. re: collioure

                                    Actually if you already have a vinegar culture going that is a great idea, but first take some and start a new batch with this addition. Oddly enough some bizarrely sweet wines I would not want to drink add an interesting note mixed in small proportion with the odd drips and draps of good wine that go into the vinegar crock. This especially is the case with the white wine crock, which has had sparkling cider and Asti Spumante tossed in before. Mixed with pinot gris and Sauvignon blanc, occasionally a little chardonnay, the vinegars have been superb. Of course mulberry may be a challenge.

                                  2. I'd post about how awful his wine is on a national internet board under my own name and home town in the hopes that he would see it and stop giving me gifts.

                                    Oh wait, you already did that. ;-)

                                    I once posted a bad Yelp review (under an assumed name) of a restaurant my friend loved and knew the owners and it came back to haunt me...

                                    1 Reply