Wine Faults

We will refund or replace wines customers deem to have a fault. We ask the customer to give a brief description of the fault so we can investigate and potentially raise the issue with the Winery or Importer

Common Wine Faults

Oxidation - exposure to oxygen will strip wine of its aromas, colour (reds and whites start to brown) and flavour. It can happen in the bottle (fault), but accelerates when bottles are opened for a prolonged period. White wine is more succeptable (tannin in reds acts as a buffer). This is the most common fault in wine.

To avoid in open bottles keep them in the fridge and use a vacuum seal, or decant into a smaller bottle (ie 375ml) to reduce surface exposure to oxygen 

Cork Taint, or TCA - A chemical contamination that gets into the bottle via the cork or barrels. The wine will have a strong smell of wet cardboard or dirty dish cloth, that will get worse the longer the bottle is open. The aroma and taste of the wine will be subdued by the taint. This is thought to occur in up to 2% of wine bottles under cork.

The cork taint can be diminished by adding polyethylene (plastic food wrap or sandwich bags) to the wine - compounds in the plastic bind to the TCA. It makes it a bit more palatable, but won't entirely fix the wine.

Suphur Compounds - wines tainted by sulphur have a burnt match or cooked cabbage smell initially, but if especially strong can have onion, burnt rubber or skunk-like odours - not nice! It will usually dimish after a few minutes, but if especially strong the wine is difficult or impossible to drink.

Decant to remove the odour, though if especially strong it might not improve

Secondary Fermentation - bubbles in wine that should not have it. A second fermentation has taken place in the bottle because of residual sugar creating some carbon dioxide (the bubbles). 

Note some still wines have a little spritz, such as Vinho Verde and some Grüner Veltliner. It is also seen in many Natural wines as a result of minimal intervention. 

Madeirized, or Heat Damage - cooked wine. Heat damaged by prolonged exposure to heat (ie a pallet left in the sun). The wine will be jammy, processed or roasted sugar. Heat damage often compromises the seal of the bottle (the expansion from the heated air pushes the cork out), oxidization often occurs as well.

Avoid by storing your wine in a cool dark place, on its side

UV Light Damage - caused by exposure to UV light, particularly affect white wines and sparkling, creating a wet wool smell.

Avoid by storing your wine in a cool dark place, on its side

Brett - the wine is tainted by a wild yeast (Brettanomyces) which creates a farmyard smell, sweet fresh dung. 

Not much you can do with this one