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Tainted Wine and its Causes

Does your wine smell or taste off? Find out what causes tainted wine, how cork affects wine quality, and much more about tainted wine.

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What’s in this site?

The Problem:
What to do when you have a bottle of tainted wine.
The Nose Knows:
Follow your nose—see what it tells you about wine.
Corked Wine:
Blame it on the cork!
The other major cause of taint.
How vintners are dealing with taint.

Related Links

Vine UK

History of wine

English Bubbly

Demystifying Wine

Art of Drinking


Tainted Wine: A Bitter Taste to the Wine Lover
 Drop cap T
here you are, just the two of you, alone for the first time in too long. The lights are dim, the mood perfect, the very atmosphere pulses with romance. You smile at each other as you open the "perfect bottle" of wine. The deep red liquid splashes into your glasses. You raise your goblets to toast your feelings . . . and a stale, musty odour wafts up to your nose. Undaunted, you take a sip . . . and the flat mouldy taste nearly causes you to gag. The mood is now tainted—certainly as spoiled as the wine in your glasses. The curse of tainted wine claims more victims.

Glass of Red Wine and GrapesThere are many causes of ill-tasting wine. Some of the problems are not related to the wine at all. Certain wines just don't go with certain foods. Strong foods such as anchovies, vinegar, hot peppers, and highly salted fish can make almost any wine taste bad. An aged, heavy, cabernet sauvignon might flatten out at a picnic on a bright, sunny day. A light, fruity Chardonnay would pale beside a Crown Roast. And, in contrast, some wines and some foods blend into a harmony whose sum is greater than any of its parts.

By far, the major causes of wine gone bad are cork taint and oxidation. This site provides a discussion of these issues and how winemakers are rising to meet the challenge.

Wine is to be enjoyed and used to enhance our world; to successfully battle the spectre or taint is to take a giant step towards making this a better place for all wine lovers. Let the journey begin . . . 



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