Does your wine smell bad—like rotten eggs or burnt matches? Drop a penny in it. This is one of those too-simple-too-actually-work solutions that most people assume must be a myth. But there’s real science behind the trick to explain why it does, in fact, work. The YouTubers from the Reactions channel, who have previously taken on such food mysteries as why New York’s bagels are so damn good and the correct way to cut an avocado explain.
During some winemaking, when the wine is cut off from oxygen during fermentation it undergoes a process called reduction, which, in turn can produce chemical compounds called thiols. That’s all a bit in the chemical weeds, but your purposes you should know that thiols are responsible for some of the worst off odors you’ll find in wine like rotten eggs, burnt matches and burnt rubber. The copper in a penny will cause a chemical reaction that produces odorless copper sulfides. All you U.S. mint history buffs (or West Wing fans) might know that today’s pennies only about 2.5 percent copper, but even that should be enough for this trick. This won’t fix any bad wine you’ve got, but for some particular bad smells it will work in a pinch.
Looking for more tricks to improve bad wine? You’ll find them right over here.