Bad wine and pennies: A Surprising Solution to Unpleasant Odors
Every wine lover has encountered a bottle of wine with an unpleasant odor. Whether it’s a whiff of sulfur reminiscent of rotten eggs or a reductive quality that detracts from the enjoyment of the wine, these odors can be disappointing. However, there is a surprising solution to this problem that involves an unassuming and readily available item: the penny.
The Science Behind Odor
Before we get to the solution, let’s understand the science behind the unpleasant odors in wine. The sulfur smell is often attributed to hydrogen sulfide, a natural byproduct of the fermentation process. In some cases, the wine doesn’t get enough oxygen during production, resulting in a reductive quality and unwanted odor.
Introducing the Penny
So how does a penny come into play? Well, it turns out that the copper in pre-1982 pennies can help neutralize odor-causing compounds in wine. When these sulfur compounds interact with the copper, a chemical reaction occurs that effectively suppresses the unpleasant odor and allows the true aromas and flavors of the wine to shine through.
Using the Penny Method
Now that we understand the premise, let’s explore how you can use the Penny Method to improve the quality of your wine:
- Make sure you have a pre-1982 penny, as pennies made after that year are predominantly zinc.
- Thoroughly scrub and clean the penny to remove any dirt or debris.
- Pour a glass of wine that has an unpleasant smell.
- Drop the cleaned penny into the glass.
- Gently swirl the glass to bring the penny into contact with the wine.
- Allow the wine to sit for a few minutes to allow the chemical reaction to take place.
- Remove the penny and smell the improved aroma. You should notice a significant reduction in the sulfur smell.
- Continue to enjoy the wine and appreciate its true flavors and aromas.
Where to find pennies
If you don’t normally carry cash or have access to pennies, there are a few places you can look:
- Check behind couch cushions or in coin jars around your home.
- Ask friends or family if they have spare change.
- Look under the seats in your car or ask friends to check theirs.
Remember, it’s important to use pre-1982 pennies because they have a higher copper content, which is critical for the chemical reaction to occur.
The next time you encounter a bottle of wine with an unpleasant odor, don’t despair. Instead, reach for a pre-1982 penny and try the Penny Method. By harnessing the power of copper, you can neutralize the odor-causing compounds and enhance your wine drinking experience. So go ahead, explore new wines without fear, and let the penny be your secret weapon against bad odors.
Why does some wine have an unpleasant smell?
The off-flavor in wine is due to sulfur compounds, specifically hydrogen sulfide. It is a natural byproduct of the fermentation process and can result from a lack of oxygen during production.
How does the Penny Method help improve the odor of bad wine?
The copper in the pre-1982 pennies interacts with the sulfur compounds in the wine, causing a chemical reaction that neutralizes the unpleasant odor. This allows the true aromas and flavors of the wine to be more pronounced.
Can I use any penny for this method?
No, only pennies made before 1982 should be used. Pennies made after that year are made primarily of zinc and won’t have the same effect as the copper-rich pennies.
How do I clean the penny before using it in wine?
It’s important to thoroughly scrub and clean the penny to remove any dirt or debris. This will ensure that no additional unwanted particles or flavors are introduced into the wine. Use warm water and a mild detergent to clean the penny, then rinse thoroughly.
How long should I leave the penny in the wine?
After dropping the cleaned penny into the glass of wine, gently swirl the wine to allow the penny to come into contact with the wine. Allow the wine to sit for a few minutes to allow the chemical reaction to take place. The exact time may vary, but a few minutes should be sufficient.
Can I use this method with any type of wine?
Yes, the Penny Method can be used for many different types of wine. Whether it’s red, white or rosé, if the wine has an unpleasant smell, the copper in the penny can help improve the aroma. However, it’s always a good idea to experiment and see which wines benefit the most from this method.