The Trick To Fixing Bad Wine Is Probably Already Sitting In Your Wallet

opening bottle of wine
opening bottle of wine - Poplasen/Getty Images

If you've ever opened a bottle of wine only to be hit with the scent of rotten eggs or burnt rubber, you can probably tell that bottle of wine has gone bad. Before you pour the contents down the drain, check your wallet or coin jar first. If you can find an old penny, then you may be able to easily fix that bottle of bad wine in just a few minutes. All you need to do is clean your penny, drop it into a glass or decanter with the foul-smelling wine, swirl it around a few times, and remove the penny. And voila! That formerly stinky wine will smell, and taste, good as new.

Before you try this trick out, a few points of clarification. The penny trick won't work with every bad bottle of wine out there, only those affected by reduction. And not every penny will work, only those made before 1982 when pennies were made almost entirely of copper (newer coins are actually made from mostly zinc). Here's why.

Read more: The 27 Best Bourbon Brands, Ranked

The Science Behind The Trick

Glass of wine surrounded by coins
Glass of wine surrounded by coins - Jennifer Overbye/Shutterstock

There are many different reasons wine can go "bad." You're probably already familiar with a corked bottle of wine, which occurs when a chemical substance in the cork affects the taste or smell of the wine; or oxidation, when wine gets exposed to too much oxygen, often when you keep a bottle of open wine longer than you should. Another cause is reduction, when wine doesn't get exposed to enough oxygen. In that case, the wine can develop thiols, or smelly sulfur compounds — three of the strongest include hydrogen sulfide (rotten egg smell), ethyl mercaptan (burnt rubber smell), and methyl mercaptan (burnt match smell). Those compounds can also affect the taste of the wine, giving it a bitter or acidic finish.

One way to improve a wine affected by reduction is to expose it to oxygen — try pouring the wine into a decanter and letting it sit for around 30 minutes. A quicker way is to introduce copper in the form of an old penny. Copper acts as a neutralizer and will bind with the thiol compounds to create odorless copper sulfide crystals. Both thiols and copper sulfide crystals are safe to drink. Copper sulfide crystals will remove the stench that comes with thiols, making your once stinky wine pleasant to enjoy again. And all it takes is a penny.

Read the original article on Tasting Table