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Last Updated on January 10, 2018

Wine Hack: 8 Simple Signs that Your Wine is Bad

Wine Hack: 8 Simple Signs that Your Wine is Bad

    Ever been unsure whether the wine in your glass is OK to drink?

    I certainly have.

    But after a few wayward years spent working as a wine maker in some of the most beautiful wine regions in the world, I’ve come to realize that it’s not as difficult as you’d think.

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    Most wine making faults can be detected just by smelling your wine. All you need is to keep in mind a few key aromas to watch out for. If you can’t smell any of them, you’ll know your wine is probably fine.

    It also helps to have a look in the glass.

    The color can tell you if the wine has been exposed to excess air. Or if there are signs of bubbles and it’s not meant to be a sparkling wine, I’d be a little worried about that too.

    Cloudiness in wine, however, isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Some wine makers prefer to leave their wine unfiltered to avoid the loss of flavor that can come in the pursuit of a perfectly clear, filtered wine.

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    At the end of the day if it smells delicious and tastes good too, you’ll know you’re onto a good thing.

    Maybe time to order another bottle?

    8 Simple Signs that Your Wine is Bad

    1. The colour browner than you would expect.
    When white wine is exposed to air, it takes on a browner colour. When red wine is oxidized, it loses some of its bright red or purple colors and starts looking brown as well. In aged wines, both white and red, this is natural and to be expected. But if your wine is young – only 1 or 2 years old, it can be a sign that the wine has been exposed to too much air. This can either mean the bottle has been open for a few days or it may have happened in the winery or during the bottling process.

    A good way to learn how the color changes is to keep an opened bottle of wine for a few days. Then open a fresh bottle of the same wine and compare the color of the two samples. Guaranteed the wine that has been open for longer will look more brown.

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    2. The wine has bubbles when it’s not mean to.

    If you’re expecting the wine to be still and it comes with a bit of fizz, this is a warning sign that some sort of fermentation is occurring in the bottle. Not a good thing. Ask for another bottle, although if the second bottle has the same problems, it’s time to try a different wine.

    If you’re at home and there isn’t any more wine, you’ve got a bigger problem. Time to stock the cellar. But for now, it won’t hurt you to drink your unexpected sparkling wine.

    3. Smells like wet dog or wet cardboard.
    These aromas are associated with cork taint, or the wine being ‘corked’. This is a sign that the cork has had mold growing on it at some stage which left a chemical, known as TCA, in the cork. The mold may be long gone but even tiny amounts of TCA can impart negative flavors on wine.

    This can vary from bottle to bottle, so ask for a fresh bottle if you can. If it the last one was corked, the new bottle will taste completely different. It won’t hurt you to drink a corked wine, but depending on the level of the doggy/cardboardy flavors it may not be a very pleasant experience.

    4. Smells like band-aids or a barn yard.

    In small doses, a little bit of barn yard can add complexity to wine and isn’t necessarily bad. But if all you’re smelling is band-aids or farm animals, it’s a problem with the wine. Generally this is a result of a yeast called brettanomyces or ‘brett’ and is a sign of poor hygiene in the winery, although it can also come from the grapes themselves.

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    Again, it’s not going to cause any harm to humans, but the bad news is that the whole batch of wine will probably have the same issues. Grabbing a fresh bottle won’t help here.

    5. Smells like nail polish remover or vinegar.

    A sign that acetic acid bacteria have been at work in your wine causing a fault known as volatile acidity, or VA. Like, brett, a little bit of VA can add complexity and be a good thing, but when it dominates, it becomes a fault. Still, won’t harm you to drink it, although it may give a burning sensation in sensitive people.

    6. Smells ‘mousey’.
    Another microbial wine making fault, although thankfully not very common. For me, any amount of mouse aroma in a wine is a bad thing, but some people don’t mind it so much. Again, it’s not toxic but very unpleasant – enough to make me happy drinking water.

    7. Smells like burnt rubber or cooked cabbage.
    Another relatively uncommon wine making fault, caused by the formation of undesirable sulfur compounds in wine. If you can, choose another wine.

    8. The wine has no aroma.
    This could be because the wine is too cold, or it needs a little air. Warm the glass with your hands and swirl a little to introduce more air. If it still isn’t smelling like much after a few minutes, it could be that the wine just doesn’t have much flavour.

    The other explanation could be a very low level of cork taint, enough to strip any good flavors from the wine, but not at a high enough level to exhibit the wet cardboard or doggy unpleasantness normally associated with TCA.

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    Last Updated on November 20, 2018

    10 Reasons Why New Year’s Resolutions Fail

    10 Reasons Why New Year’s Resolutions Fail

    A new year beautifully symbolizes a new chapter opening in the book that is your life. But while so many people like you aspire to achieve ambitious goals, only 12% of you will ever experience the taste of victory. Sound bad? It is. 156 million people (that’s 156,000,000) will probably give up on their resolution before you can say “confetti.” Keep on reading to learn why New Year’s resolutions fail (and how to succeed).

    Note: Since losing weight is the most common New Year’s resolution, I chose to focus on weight loss (but these principles can be applied to just about any goal you think of — make it work for you!).

    1. You’re treating a marathon like a sprint.

    Slow and steady habit change might not be sexy, but it’s a lot more effective than the “I want it ALL and I want it NOW!” mentality. Small changes stick better because they aren’t intimidating (if you do it right, you’ll barely even notice them!).

    If you have a lot of bad habits today, the last thing you need to do is remodel your entire life overnight. Want to lose weight? Stop it with the crash diets and excessive exercise plans. Instead of following a super restrictive plan that bans anything fun, add one positive habit per week. For example, you could start with something easy like drinking more water during your first week. The following week, you could move on to eating 3 fruits and veggies every day. And the next week, you could aim to eat a fistful of protein at every meal.

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    2. You put the cart before the horse.

    “Supplementing” a crappy diet is stupid, so don’t even think about it. Focus on the actions that produce the overwhelming amount of results. If it’s not important, don’t worry about it.

    3. You don’t believe in yourself.

    A failure to act can cripple you before you leave the starting line. If you’ve tried (and failed) to set a New Year’s resolution (or several) in the past, I know it might be hard to believe in yourself. Doubt is a nagging voice in your head that will resist personal growth with every ounce of its being. The only way to defeat doubt is to believe in yourself. Who cares if you’ve failed a time or two? This year, you can try again (but better this time).

    4. Too much thinking, not enough doing.

    The best self-help book in the world can’t save you if you fail to take action. Yes, seek inspiration and knowledge, but only as much as you can realistically apply to your life. If you can put just one thing you learn from every book or article you read into practice, you’ll be on the fast track to success.

    5. You’re in too much of a hurry.

    If it was quick-and-easy, everybody would do it, so it’s in your best interest to exercise your patience muscles.

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    6. You don’t enjoy the process.

    Is it any wonder people struggle with their weight when they see eating as a chore and exercise as a dreadful bore? The best fitness plan is one that causes the least interruption to your daily life. The goal isn’t to add stress to your life, but rather to remove it.

    The best of us couldn’t bring ourselves to do something we hate consistently, so make getting in shape fun, however you’ve gotta do it. That could be participating in a sport you love, exercising with a good friend or two, joining a group exercise class so you can meet new people, or giving yourself one “free day” per week where you forget about your training plan and exercise in any way you please.

    7. You’re trying too hard.

    Unless you want to experience some nasty cravings, don’t deprive your body of pleasure. The more you tell yourself you can’t have a food, the more you’re going to want it. As long as you’re making positive choices 80-90% of the time, don’t sweat the occasional indulgence.

    8. You don’t track your progress.

    Keeping a written record of your training progress will help you sustain an “I CAN do this” attitude. All you need is a notebook and a pen. For every workout, record what exercises you do, the number of repetitions performed, and how much weight you used if applicable. Your goal? Do better next time. Improving your best performance on a regular basis offers positive feedback that will encourage you to keep going.

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    9. You have no social support.

    It can be hard to stay motivated when you feel alone. The good news? You’re not alone: far from it. Post a status on Facebook asking your friends if anybody would like to be your gym or accountability buddy. If you know a co-worker who shares your goal, try to coordinate your lunch time and go out together so you’ll be more likely to make positive decisions. Join a support group of like-minded folks on Facebook, LinkedIn, or elsewhere on the internet. Strength in numbers is powerful, so use it to your advantage.

    10. You know your what but not your why.

    The biggest reason why most New Year’s resolutions fail: you know what you want but you not why you want it.

    Yes: you want to get fit, lose weight, or be healthy… but why is your goal important to you? For example:

    Do you want to be fit so you can be a positive example that your children can admire and look up to?

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    Do you want to lose fat so you’ll feel more confident and sexy in your body than ever before?

    Do you want to be healthy so you’ll have increased clarity, energy, and focus that would carry over into every single aspect of your life?

    Whether you’re getting in shape because you want to live longer, be a good example, boost your energy, feel confident, have an excuse to buy hot new clothes, or increase your likelihood of getting laid (hey, I’m not here to judge) is up to you. Forget about any preconceived notions and be true to yourself.

    • The more specific you can make your goal,
    • The more vivid it will be in your imagination,
    • The more encouraged you’ll be,
    • The more likely it is you will succeed (because yes, you CAN do this!).

    I hope this guide to why New Year’s resolutions fail helps you achieve your goals this year. If you found this helpful, please pass it along to some friends so they can be successful just like you. What do you hope to accomplish next year?

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