What to Do with Wine You Don’t Like: A Post-Holiday Guide

What to Do with Wine You Don't Like

Knowing what to do with gifted wine you don’t like is important because unwanted gift bottles take up valuable space that you could use to store your favorite wines.

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For Christmas one year, my aunt gift-wrapped an entire case of wine for me. At first, I was excited to receive what was clearly a case of wine, but when I finally got the wrapping paper off, my excitement turned into dismay. The wine was low-quality white Zinfandel that I knew I would never drink. Although my aunt clearly meant well, she didn’t realize that the wine she had given me wasn’t at all to my taste. Moreover, I had no place to store those 12 bottles. I politely accepted the gift, but later on, I ended up regifting a few bottles to some white Zin-loving friends and taking the rest to a massive New Year’s Eve party.

If you’re a wine enthusiast or collector, you’ll probably receive at least a few bottles of wine from friends and family over the holiday season and it’s unlikely that all of those wines will be ones you’re excited to drink. This is why it’s important to know what to do with wine you don’t like. Rather than shoving these bottles off in a far corner of your cellar, you can resell, regift, or repurpose them. In the process, you may make a little extra cash to kick off the new year, and at the very least, you’ll give the wine to someone who will truly appreciate it. Before you do anything with the wine you’ve received, though, it’s wise to take a little time to determine its value.

Analyze the Wine’s Value

Deciding what to do with a wine you don’t like requires some extra research. It’s best not to rewrap the bottle in a nice bow and pass it along to a random friend, because it’s possible that your friend may not appreciate it either. Instead, you should think about who may actually enjoy the wine that you received, and what that bottle may do for you as well. This process begins with a brief analysis of the wine’s overall value. First, research average critic scores for the wine; did it receive a score above 90? If so, you may want to try the bottle for yourself. It’s always a good idea to give a quality, highly-rated wine a fair chance to impress. However, if you’re absolutely certain that the wine isn’t for you, then a high score will tell you that the wine has some objective value–it means that someone out there will like it. If, however, the wine received low or mediocre scores, you may have to repurpose it.

Once you’ve taken a look at the wine’s score, take into consideration its average price on the secondary market. Is the wine worth more than $100 a bottle? Is it potentially age-worthy? If so, it may be wise to resell the bottle immediately, or store it in a professional warehouse purely as an investment. You don’t have to enjoy the wine yourself in order to make a profit on it. Score, market value, and age-worthiness combined will determine whether you can make a profit on an unwanted gift bottle.

Resell the Wine

Let’s say that you looked into the value of the wine and you’ve determined that selling it will be the smartest move. How do you go about this process? First, determine how long the bottle should age and look at historical data to give you a sense of how valuable that bottle will be in the future. For instance, fine wine like 2006 Lafite-Rothschild tends to increase steadily in value by around $50 to $100 for every year that it’s kept in storage; the longer you keep this wine, the more profit you will make.

Of course, a Lafite-Rothschild is a wine that just about any enthusiast would love to get as a gift this year. But if you received a wine you wouldn’t drink yourself, you can make the most out of it by looking up historical price data just as you would for a bottle of Lafite. Wines that appear to be losing, not gaining, value and that have already reached peak maturity may need to be sold right away. Younger wines, and wines that have a history of increasing in value, should be stored a bit longer. Send wines that require more storage to a storage warehouse so that the bottle doesn’t take up valuable space in your cellar or fridge, and look for a storage facility that will also sell the bottle for you when the time comes.

Regift or Repurpose the Wine

Bottles that are low in value will need to be regifted or repurposed instead. Think about the preferences of friends, coworkers, and family. When I received the case of white Zinfandel, I knew that my wine collector friends wouldn’t appreciate being given a bottle, but one of my best friends absolutely adores any and all pink-colored wines. She loved being given a couple bottles. The most important thing to remember when deciding what to do with wine you don’t like is to confirm that you are giving the bottle to someone who will actually enjoy it. If you can’t think of anyone who would like it, then repurpose it instead.

Repurposing a wine usually means either cooking with it or bringing it to a party for fun. Sometimes, I’ll bring along one low-quality bottle of wine to a tasting event as a tool for figuring out what went wrong during the winemaking process. Even low-quality wines can teach us a great deal about what makes fine wines so incredible.They’re also excellent for large gatherings. At some parties, like large New Year’s Eve celebrations, hosts are looking for quantity over quality and will appreciate a guest bringing several bottles of wine, no matter the critical rating. Moreover, in a large party setting, chances are good there will be at least one person at the event who truly enjoys the wine that you brought along.

More Tips on What to Do with Wine You Don’t Like

In general, you should never feel pressured into keeping a wine just because someone gave it to you. If you’re serious about wine, you’re likely very selective about the wines you enjoy and you should trust your instinct if you feel that a wine simply isn’t for you. That said, you should still think carefully about why you dislike the wine. Is it because the quality of the vintage is low, or simply because you dislike the style altogether? If it’s the latter, you may consider keeping the bottle just to try it for yourself. In the past, I’ve found that wines I originally hated were merely poor representations of the grape variety or style. Tasting one excellent wine in that style could be enough to change your mind entirely. Why not put this to the test with the next high-quality bottle you’re considering giving away?

Deciding what to do with wine you don’t like is ultimately a very personal choice. Just remember that there’s a wine out there for everyone; even if you find a wine downright repulsive, it’s likely that someone in the world prefers it to any other wine. Consider all of the factors, such as quality, value, available space, and your own preferences, and you’ll find the perfect use for gifted bottles and ensure that every last drop is fully appreciated.

Whether you are starting your high-end wine collection or adding to an established portfolio, Vinfolio is your partner in buying, selling, and professional storageContact us today to get access to the world’s best wine.

At Vinfolio, we help our clients buy, sell, store, and manage their most treasured bottles of wine. But in our spare time, we’re just a group of passionate and slightly obsessed oenophiles--we love sharing a great glass of vintage Champagne, followed by a Burgundy, and then a Bordeaux, to get things started. We’re always obsessing over the latest (and oldest) vintages, and we want to share that knowledge and passion with our readers.