Spoiled Wine and the Misunderstood Wine Cellar

Spoiled Wine and the Misunderstood Wine Cellar

Wine cellars from Rosehill Wine Cellars

It’s rarely the wine cellar’s fault, when wine spoils, if you have relied on professionals for construction and lighting.

A custom wine cellar built by experts who specialize in creating the ideal wine environment is often mistaken as being faulty. After all, the purpose of having a wine cellar is to protect and preserve wine so that it can be enjoyed at the point of optimal maturity. Questions arise when a clear percentage of the wine from a cellar is discovered to have gone bad. It’s only natural to wonder if the wine cooling unit or other components of the wine cellar failed, resulting in spoiled wine. The blame for bad wine very rarely lies in the construction or maintenance of a wine cellar, however. Across the wine industry and in wine collections everywhere, it can be expected that about 5% to 10% of the wine will turn out to be undrinkable. This is why waiters at restaurants allow diners to taste their wine and give their approval or send the bottle back. There are four basic reasons that wine goes bad, and they are that the wine is: Oxidized, corked, refermented, or cooked.


Just as air affects a cut apple, turning it brown, too much air has an undesirable effect on wine. One of the reasons corks are ideal for sealing bottles of wine is that the natural material allows in miniscule amounts of oxygen during sometimes years of storage. Wines become oxidized if too much air gets in. For instance, if a cork dries out, which can occur as a direct result of how and where the wine is stored, oxidation ruins the wine. If you have a professionally built wine cellar and use wine racks as recommended by experts, you can typically avoid having any dried out corks.


When a fungal compound called 2,4,6-trichloranisole (TCA), also known as cork taint, gets into cork, a musty odor is imparted into the wine. You can recognize corked wine when the bottle is opened and you smell the contents. The sniffing notes are described as smelling of moldy cardboard, dirty socks that have been left too long in the hamper, or musty basement. TCA is usually caused by problems in the environment of wineries, such as antifungal treatments and moldy cellars.


When yeast and sugar are still in fermented wine, the wine will literally begin fermenting in the bottle again. This causes the wine to be off-flavored and a wee bit bubbly. Spritz is desirable in champagne but not in fine still wine.


When wine has been exposed to excessive heat, such as in bad storage, it becomes baked or maderized. It will literally taste like Madeira, with flavors of candied fruits and almonds. You can sometimes spot cooked wine before opening it because the cork will usually push partly out of the neck, due to expansion.

While it’s true that a faulty wine cellar can be the cause of cooked or oxidized wine, having the guidance of professionals like those at Rosehill Wine Cellars can ensure that it doesn’t happen to you. It’s usually a safe bet that spoiled wine is not the wine cellar’s fault.


From the Sandy Soil to Custom Wine Cabinet

Rose Hill Wine Cellar Display

A custom wine cabinet from Rosehill Wine Cellars is perfect for wine with grapes originating in sandy soil.

At Rosehill Wine Cellars, we appreciate wine stories. Every wine happens to have its beginning in soil conducive to making certain types of wine grapes. It is our pleasure to build custom wine cabinets so that as fine wines are aging to perfection, they are handsomely and properly situated.

Soils for Wine Grapes Differ

Soil is a favorite topic among wine lovers. Not every region is good for growing wine grapes. On the other hand, some parts of the world have ideal conditions for vineyards. It is generally true that the greater the struggle for a grapevine, the better the grapes for winemaking.

Delving into the issue of soil is very much a geological venture. Tuscany, Italy, is widely known as a wine-growing region. Terroir is a wine term all oenophiles should be familiar with. The combined role of climate, geology, and culture is terroir, and Tuscany has the right terroir. There are different sub-soils in Tuscany, making it an excellent region for individual grape varieties. Some areas have ore clay and alluvial deposits. ”Alluvial” is a combination of sand, gravel, clay, and silt that has formed over time as a result of mineral deposits left by running water. Tuscany also has sandy sub-soils.

Wine from Sandy Soils

An interesting thing about soil is that it has a distinct effect on the grapes that are grown. Sandy soils retain heat and are well-drained. These soils make wines that have less color and are lighter in tannin and acidity. Wines derived from grapes grown in sandy soils are elegant with high aromatics. One of the benefits of this type of soil is that there is better resistance to pests, and this encourages more organic production.

Among the noted wines that come from sandy soils are Cabernet Sauvignon, Cannubi, and Zinfandel.

From the Start to the Finish

Ultimately, wines best for aging end up in wine cellars. Whatever type of soil the wine grapes started out in, it is a nice journey when the wine produced from those grapes ends up in custom wine cabinets built by Rosehill Wine Cellars. We are as passionate about creating the right atmosphere for wine collectors as vintners are about terroir, including soil type.