Skip to main content

The Globe and Mail

Will a three-litre bottle of Henkell Trocken I bought in 1988 still be useable?

A glass of sparkling wine. Among bubblies, only vintage Champagnes benefit from aging.


The question

I have a three-litre unopened bottle of Henkell Trocken, which I purchased around 1988 at a Toronto wine show. Would it still be useable? Would it have any resale value?

The answer

Story continues below advertisement

"Useable" is an apt word. That bottle could make a good doorstop but I wouldn't hold out much hope for the flavour.

Henkell Trocken is a popular sparkling wine from Germany, priced at roughly $14 or $15 around the country. It is soundly made but not designed to be cellared for three years, let alone decades. In fact, generally speaking, the only bubblies that can survive the long haul are French "vintage" Champagnes – the superpremium bottles stamped with a vintage date on the label.

That said, you raise an interesting qualification. At three litres, your wine-show trophy is gigantic. Large-format bottles tend to preserve wine better. There's more fluid in the container, so the rate of oxygen absorption through the cork is slower.

I only wish you'd written me in, say, 1995. I'd have told you to start thinking about popping that cork then. Today? I'm guessing your Henkell's over the hill. This also presupposes it's been stored in a cool, dark, humid cellar. A broom closet will have accelerated its demise.

This, I'm sorry to say, pretty much answers your second question. Resale value? In German, I believe the word is nichts or null. As in zero.

Beppi Crosariol is the co-author, with Lucy Waverman, of The Flavour Principle, a sumptuous new cookbook and drinks compendium, published by HarperCollins.

E-mail your wine and spirits questions to Beppi Crosariol. Look for answers to select questions to appear in the Wine & Spirits newsletter and on The Globe and Mail website.

Story continues below advertisement

Report an error Licensing Options
About the Author
Life columnist

Beppi Crosariol writes about wine and spirits in the Globe Life and Style sections.He has been The Globe's wine and spirits columnist for more than 10 years. In the late 1990s, he also wrote a food trends column called The Biting Edge.Beppi used to cover business law for ROB and previously edited the paper's weekly technology section. More


The Globe invites you to share your views. Please stay on topic and be respectful to everyone. For more information on our commenting policies and how our community-based moderation works, please read our Community Guidelines and our Terms and Conditions.

We’ve made some technical updates to our commenting software. If you are experiencing any issues posting comments, simply log out and log back in.

Discussion loading… ✨