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How long are home made wines safe to keep? When I bought my house there were some homemade wines in the basement that looked old at the time and I have now lived here 13 years. Do these need to be thrown out? I'm not much of a wine drinker and was a little afraid to try them when I bought the place.
You'd be a much braver man than I to try something not only left behind, but also homemade! I'd guess they've past their shelf life, but I don't know much about wine.
I would guess they are well past their prime. Few wines stay drinkable for 13 years. And considering when the hayday of home winemaking was (30+ years ago) they could be much older.
Can you see inside the bottle? If it has a brownish tinge, I would just throw it out. If it still looks like a wine is supposed to look, then it might be good, but that's a longshot.
Unless Paul Draper was the previous owner of your house, the wines will be shot. Hell, even many $100 Napa Cabs are quite stewed and over the hill by the time they reach 10 years. And most homemade wines should be consumed within a year of bottling.
Still, if it was me, I'd at least pour a glass, take a look and sniff. Ya never know. But I'll try anything once.
(Paul Draper has been winemaker at Ridge since 1969, and his wines remain some of the most long-lived in California, or the world for that mater.)
Maybe you could use it as vinegar for cleaning your bathtub?
There are a lot of things that have to work together to keep wines drinkable after many years. There are some wines that have lasted hundreds of years. The real easy test is to open a bottle. It might have a sulphur smell to it but that doesn't mean it's bad. Pour a glass and agitate it furiously for a minute and let it sit for 10 minutes. If the wine is a dark orange-brown color that just means it's old. If it smells like vinegar then you have a nice collection of vinegar, google search on recipes with vinegar and start a new hobby.
If the wine looks muddy with lots of stuff floating in it and it smells like Lucifer farted then probably you just aren't going to like it no matter what. If the alcohol content is around 12% you can use it to melt ice on your neighbors sidewalk. Your neighbor will have the "who farted" look fir a few days but he won't be bustin his personality on an icy sidewalk. He can thank you later.
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