Few things in life are as frustrating as uncorking a highly anticipated bottle of wine after a long day and pouring a glass only to discover that the bottle is spoiled. But, there’s a simple DIY wine-saving trick that will only cost you a penny.
First though, we need to discuss some of the more common ways in which wine can fail to live up to even our most minimal of expectations, because this trick won’t solve all of your vino problems.
One fairly common way that a bottle of wine can go sideways on you is by being corked – what we call a bottle that has been afflicted with cork taint.
You’ll smell corked wine long before you ever try taking a swig of it. The aroma is frequently compared to wet dog, wet newspaper, a dirty sponge or rust. Unfortunately, there’s no wine hack to correct this common occurrence.
But another malady that can ruin a bottle of wine creeps up on our senses a bit more covertly. If your wine smells okay, but manages to taste like sulfur and burnt rubber, then you might have a problem on your hands that you actually have a solution for.
Wine that tastes of rotten eggs and rubber has likely been affected by a chemical process called reduction, which can dramatically change the profile of a wine with the creation of a molecular compounds called thiols.
Lucky for you, just as thiols are birthed by an unwanted chemical process, they can also be eliminated by another chemical process. Thiols, when exposed to silver or copper, are eliminated like a genie being stuffed back into its lamp.
That means you can use a penny, but it’s got to be a real copper coin. Anything that predates 1982 ought to be 95% copper, giving you more than enough of the metal to activate your experiment.
Once your penny has been given a good wash (money is filthy), just drop it into your eggy, rubbery glass of spoiled wine. Now give the glass a few sloshes and spins. Just a few moments of exposure to the copper penny should be plenty to “clean” your wine.