Wine Diarist

Do Wine Bottles Explode? (7 Causes and Solutions!)

It is always a pain when you go through the trouble of buying a nice wine bottle and then realize that it has exploded. This would be a tragedy if the wine was a prized possession or had sentimental value.

People have shared with deep sadness that their wine bottles have exploded or shattered from time to time. Some of these wines exploded at home or in the wine store. This can happen to the best of us. To ensure this unfortunate experience does not befall you, you need to know why wine explodes. You can also find solutions to what you can do in the future.

Why does wine explode & solutions

When it goes through bottle fermentation

One reason why wine may explode is that it went through bottle fermentation. If you make wine at home, for example, this is a bit common. If you add sugar to wine before bottling, it can go through secondary fermentation. Winemakers, add potassium Sorbate or Sodium MetabiSulphite to stop the process of fermentation. Winemakers or home brewers use a hydrometer to measure the sugars in the wine. When there are no residual sugars, the wine will stop fermenting.

Fermentation did not take place completely and the temperature changes

Another reason would be that the fermentation in the bottle had not finished completely because the winemakers may have dropped the temperatures. If the temperature changes when the wine is in the bottle, fermentation can start again. Most times, when the bottle gets warmer, the yeast starts fermenting. Keep monitoring the changes in your wine. It is hard to know when a wine will start fermenting but you can check if the cork is pushed out.

When it gets too hot

Another reason why wine bottles explode is when sparkling wine gets too warm. Sparkling wines like Champagne have many bubbles in the bottle and that is what makes them fizzy. When they are stored in a warm place, the dissolved Carbon Dioxide can start expanding. The bottles already have lots of pressure build-up and when the bubbles start expanding, they may explode.

To prevent wine bottles from blowing up, it is important to store them in a cold place. Ensure you do not make any drastic changes in temperature and do not store wines when they are facing direct sunlight.

When the cork expands or contracts

Although this is not a violent explosion, wines may also pop when the cork shrinks. Corks are made from tree barks of a specific tree, and over time, they may shrink because of dryness. This happens when bottles are stored in an upright position for years. When the cork shrinks, it may let air pass between the cork and the neck of the bottle. This may oxidize the wine or expose it to bacteria which will produce different gases. The build-up will cause the cork to pop off loudly. Sometimes, the cork can also expand if the wine inside the bottle has been in contact with the cork for a long time. For example, if you store wine on its side, it will soak the cork. Over months or years, it may take in too much wine and expand, causing the wine to pop. If the cork was infected or if the wine had any contamination, it would also pop out due to different gases building up from microbial activity in the bottle.

To prevent this from happening, always check your cork and ensure you store wines well. Investigate for signs that the cork is shrinking, expanding, or damaged.

When the glass is damaged

Another plausible reason is wine can explode if the glass is damaged. Each bottle has a seam which is where the hot glass was joined during the bottle-making process. It could be an area of weakness, especially for sparkling wine with lots of pressure build-up. Over time, the glass can give out and break due to the weakness of the glass in that area. Manufacturers need to test their bottles to ensure that there are no faults in the glass and they can withstand a lot of pressure for years. As a consumer, there is no real way of knowing if a bottle is weak or strong.

If you do not store your wine well

Storage can also be another reason for wine exploding. Wien should not be stored in an area where it is constantly moved. It should not be exposed to loud noises, thuds, or vibrations. Because of the resonance phenomenon where glass can break when exposed to vibrations or noises of a certain frequency, it is best to keep the wine in a quiet room devoid of movement.

 When it is stored in the freezer

Wine will explode in the freezer because there is a big percentage of water in wine. Water expands when frozen. Imagine your wine expanding inside the bottle. Although when bottling, wineries leave a small space, there is still air in the bottle and this will cause the bottle to break. As the wine expands, it may generate enough pressure to shatter the bottle, especially if is a screw-capped wine. However, if the wine has a cork, the extra pressure can push the cork out.

Wine explosions are not very common but they mostly happen due to bottling and storage problems. As a consumer, the best you can do is to ensure you take care of w wine bottle. Look for a space or cellar in your home where you can keep your wine. A study or home office may be better than the kitchen because there is a lot of movement and temperature changes in the kitchen. If you want to take your wine storage game to a higher level, for short-term wine storage, you can invest in a wine refrigerator.

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