James Merrell

Older doesn’t always mean better, especially with moderately priced wine. Follow these tips to make sure your wine hasn’t gone bad.


  • Check the color. Red wines fade and white wines darken when they oxidize or get too old. Brown tones in either are typically bad news.
  • Smell it. White wines should smell like fresh fruits and reds like berries. If either smells like vinegar or raisins, it’s probably past its prime.
  • Taste it. If it has an astringent quality, it’s likely spoiled. You are entitled to refuse an unsatisfactory bottle in a restaurant and to be reimbursed for one by a wine store.