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Dear Dr. Vinny,
Is there any scientific explanation for why a wine does not expire?
If by “expired” you mean “dead” (or, more politely, “over the hill”), then there are actually plenty of wines that I’d say meet this definition. I’m thinking of wines that are either so old all the flavors have faded, or that became oxidized because their storage conditions have been compromised, or some combination of these factors. Drinking them won’t make you sick, but they can taste generic, flat and nutty with bruised apple notes.
Perhaps you’re wondering why wines don’t spoil—and if that’s the case, the alcohol in wine acts like a preservative and prohibits the growth of pathogens. Wine can’t spoil like that gallon of milk you forgot about. Even the most unpleasant wines won’t make you sick, unless you drink too much of them.
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