5 Amazing Wine Hacks For That Crappy Wine You Just Bought

Look, it happens to all of us: you find this wine for under ten bucks that looks like it may be a killer bargain, and when you pop that cork you discover you just made an investment in grape-flavored ass juice. No judgment here. Trader Joes’ wine section doesn’t come with a warning sign above the aisle reading, “Some Of This Stuff Is Gonna Suck Beyond Comprehension.” You roll the dice, you move your mice. Here are 5 amazing wine hacks to make that cheap wine taste better.

Here then are Five Amazing Hacks For That Crappy Wine You Just Bought:

Shake It Like A Polaroid Picture. 

I constantly get lured in by this bargain Bordeaux they sell at Costco. This bile is like 19th growth or something, and takes the signature barnyard funk of great Bordeaux and reduces it to straight pig crap. So, here’s what you do: pour out about two ounces, put the cork back in, and shake the crap outta that bottle. Literally. Like you’re making a martini. This is sometimes known as “hyperdecanting” and is said to be able to age your wine five years in twenty seconds. This aging helps to balance the wine, ostensibly reducing any repulsive flavors or aromas that really stick out. How does it work? Because science.

Let it go! Let it gooooo!

Pour out a few ounces, put the cork back in, and leave the bottle on the countertop for three days. Unlike Hyperdecanting, which imitates aging, this method slowly burns off some of the alcohol. I like to view alcohol as a “flavor carrier.” It’s the fat on a rib eye steak if you will. If you reduce the alcohol, you can reduce the wine from a 10 to about a 7 on the Robert Mondavi Fermentation/Abomination Scale.*

Ice Ice Baby – Amazing Wine Hack #3

The colder a wine’s temperature, the more everything potentially horrible about it becomes masked: aroma, flavor, acid and alcohol all lose their potency as a wine dips below fifty degrees. Ice has the advantage of not only cooling but melting, thereby diluting your atrocious vintage. I particularly like ice in crappy sparkling wine, because the water helps to mitigate the inevitable headache. However, if you don’t like water in your wine, simply stick the bottle in the freezer for as long as it will go without freezing/exploding.

picture of a woman pouring wine into a glass
I once stopped dating a girl because she put ice in her Chardonnay. These days, all that makes you the perfect woman if you simply promise not to murder me in my sleep.

Tiny Bubbles Make Cheap Wine Taste Better

It’s good to have on hand some sparkling water or sparkling wine, and preferably both. Sparkling water is especially good to dilute red wines, particularly if you don’t like your reds cold and therefore don’t want to use the ice hack. If you like to get wacky, you can try flavored sparkling water, which comes in both sweet and not-sweet varieties depending on your preference. Same goes for sparkling wine. Combining your red or white with a sparkler helps mask the taste of both, and creates something akin to a Sangria de Basura Blanca. And again, you can adjust the sweetness by using a brut sparkler or a Moscato.

Buy Inexpensive Wine That Actually Tastes Good

It may not sound like amazing wine hacks, but there’s actually a great way to buy inexpensive wine that is higher quality than almost anything you buy in the grocery store: buy wine that’s exclusively available online. That’s why we love Tous Les Jours 2019 California Pinot Noir.

Three bottles of the best low price pinot noirs, the Tous Les Jour California Pinot Noir on a shelf underneath the Pairs With Life Cellars logo

Wines that are created exclusively for online sale create a higher margin for the producer since they don’t have to sell the wine directly to a distributor. Some producers pocket this extra margin. Other producers, like Pairs With Life Cellars, put the extra money back into production, so they can keep the price at $15 per bottle but create a wine worth twice as much. That’s why we love the 2019 Tous Les Jours California Pinot Noir. It’s the first pinot in this price range that hasn’t had us reach for the ice and the bubbles…


*This scale does not exist. 

13 thoughts on “5 Amazing Wine Hacks For That Crappy Wine You Just Bought”

  1. Great post. One more hack: make “Sangria”. Adding triple sec, orange juice, lemon mixer, and brandy or rum to a disappointing wine will mask any flaws and “cast a warm, Kodachrome haze on my bitter existence” too.

  2. Great article. I’m going to repost.
    Aside from pouring it down the sink and surfing Pinterest for bottle art ideas, you could cook with it.

  3. I second the Sangria suggestion – alliteration unintended. But, I have an even simpler recipe if that’s helpful. Friends rave about it and it’s probably the only reason why I’m still invited to parties. Cheap bottle of red (a liter or more, if possible) + 1/2 bottle of Sprite, 7Up or Sierra Mist + 1 or 2 bags of frozen mixed berries and frozen peaches, and if you’re feeling fancy, 1 cut up navel orange. The fruit defrosts, acting like ice without watering it down, and absorbs the wine in the process. No other spirits needed and super refreshing! Also, probably less strong…

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