Returning Flawed Bottles of Wine !

  • 1996 Domaine René Engel Vosne-Romanée - France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Vosne-Romanée (1/11/2014)
    Darkly colored with a slight orange tinge to the rim, no fruit flavors, wet, musty cardboard, Undrinkable!

Posted from CellarTracker

Bought this bottle a few weeks ago I had no problems in returning the wine. The store offered a 2004 Potel Vosne Romanée, I preferred buying a 2006 Potel CDLR with 50% discount!

What are your experiences with replacing a flawed bottle?

Depends upon the retailer. We had a horribly corked wine, brought it back to the Wine Library and had an immediate credit, since they were out of stock.

Never had a problem returning recently-purchased corked wines.

I believe that another thread has discussed this topic, however: Not a problem at the LWS I use as long as the bottle is still half+ full. The store has the return policy posted and it’s pretty liberal, no questions asked. However, this thread touches a different item, old wines. That store’s policy is they do not warrant any wines 10 vintages and older. You buy them and they are yours, period. Not denying yours was not corked, but the wine manager told me they were getting to many good bottles of older wines returned as being “off”, when they were really just old(er), so the policy got changed.

Vinfolio is the only retailer that has refused to replace a corked bottle for me. They said no replacements after 90days from purchase (as if time has anything to do with it).

Other than that, wineries, chain stores, and wine stores have always taken my bad bottles back and offered replacements.

I have replaced bottles my customers have outright ruined… You know when it’s fraud… At 54 you better…lol…

More to the pont … Bought old wines over ten years old and never expected to have it replaced if it was off… Thought it was understood that old wines are a gamble, being a gamble I would not think one could expect replacement bottle … That said,if you happen to be a real big fish than I would do anything to make you happy …

I definitely think the age of the wine is a factor. And, I wouldn’t even consider this possibility if I haves owned the bottle for any sort of extended period of time! Which … is 99% of the wines I own… oh well!

If I bought an old wine recently and it was corked, I’d expect a refund, absolutey.

If it was shot (oxidized) when it should be only mature (say, a 1990 Medoc or 90 Grand Cru Burgundy), I’d take it back, too.

I’ve never had any difficulty with returns to any of my local retailers at all, one even usually just puts the bottle straight in the trash and gives me a credit. But sometimes I just let it go too…The most involved return I’ve done has been directly to Screagle. If you say a bottle is corked, they want the bottle sent back to them to test for TCA/TCB, then they’ll replace it if it actually is.

Sucks on your Engel, I had an '88 Engel Echezeaux recently that was fantastic.

I truly and honestly this is a tricky situation, and the ‘flaw’ that has occurred really needs to come into play. We’ve grown accustomed to returning truly ‘corked’ wines, and there seem to be pretty strict policies in place at both LWS’s and individual wineries. What about auction houses? Curious to hear.

When it comes to an oxidized wine, to me, that’s a bit trickier. There are many things that can contribute to that oxidation, including faulty corks, but there’s really no way to know. And if it’s an older bottle, the number of possibilities - poor storage, elevated temperatures, etc - simply increases the chances that we won’t know.

I think the challenges lie in the system itself - if a retailer, for instance, takes back an older wine and credits you, yet can’t return said wine to the distributor do to the age of the wine or the individual winery’s policies, that would suck. Yes, perhaps it’s part of ‘doing business’, but I just don’t see that as a ‘fair’ way of the situation being handled.

Just my $.,02 . . . but I do believe moving forward, with more ‘educated’ and ‘discerning’ palates out there, this is going to become a bigger issue.


As was discussed in another thread recently, Chambers Street guarantees their older wines, so they take the risk if they’re shot or corky. And their prices on older things are not out of line.

That certainly gives a lot of us reassurance when buying there. I’ve only ever had one older wine (a 15-year-old Franken Sylvaner) that was shot.

+1. If a bottle is corked, I don’t see a reason for the buyer to eat it. If it’s ruined in another way, the situation gets a bit murkier.

I’ve learned that its better to ask about policy regarding compromised wine in advance. I recently purchased an older bottle of wine from Benchmark Wine that landed up being corked. When asked about their policy Benchmark said “Cork taint or TCA is something that occurs during the manufacturing process, and is a default on the part of the winery. We apologize for this but we are unable to replaced or refunded your bottle of wine.” So now I know that I will need to take the hit if a wine is corked.

There doesn’t appear to be consistency when dealing with flawed bottles across the various retailers/distributers; I now check in advance and base my purchasing decisions accordingly.