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Disposing of Old Unopened Wine & Bottles (5 Proven Tips)

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Knowing how to dispose of old unopened wine and bottles can be challenging. While you don’t want to drink it anymore because it doesn’t taste good, you don’t always want to pour it down your drain, either. In this article, you will learn about several alternatives to disposing of your bad wine down the drain and what to do with the bottle. 

The most straightforward way to dispose of unopened wine and bottles is to pour it down your kitchen sink and recycle the bottle. Be sure to turn the faucet on to run warm water down the drain while dumping the wine to ensure any acidic elements are diluted. 

Here are a few tips for disposing of your old wine effectively and safely.

  • Turn your faucet on to run warm water down the drain while dumping your wine. This will ensure any acidic properties the bad wine may have will be diluted when going through your pipes.
  • Wash the inside of the bottle out when you are done dumping it down the drain. This will make sure that no mold grows before you recycle it and will prevent spilling or staining when you take the bottle to be recycled.
  • Let your cleaned bottles dry before taking them to be recycled. This will also help with preventing spillage or wine stains in your car or on the floor.

Keep reading below for more great ideas about disposing of old unopened wine and bottles! 

What to Do with Old Unopened Wine
What to Do with Old Unopened Wine

TIP: If you want to check out the best refrigerator for wine storage, I recommend trying out the Avation (18 bottles) compressor refrigerator with Wi-fi smart app control cooling system. You can find this refrigerator by clicking here (Amazon link).

What to Do with Old Unopened Wine

Disposing of old unopened wine down the sink is an excellent idea if you run warm water down the drain while dumping your wine.

This will make sure that the wine’s acidic properties will be diluted while it is going through your pipes. After the wine is dumped, recycle the bottle! 

Recommendation box: Everything you need to enjoy your wine as much as possible. All recommended products are personally tested and regularly used by experts from this website (Amazon links):

> Ivation Wine Cooler Energy-efficient wine cooler for 18 bottles with Wi-fi smart app control cooling system.
> Wine RackBeautiful, elegant wood rack for up to 7 bottles and the choice of vertical or horizontal storage.
> Durand Wine OpenerClassic vintage wine opener (we like all these classic staff).
> YouYah Iceberg Wine DecanterThe most beautiful and handy wine decanter we personally use.
> Bormioli Rocco Wine GlassesA set of eight elegant and traditional wine glasses made in Italy.
> Vintorio Wine AeratorSimple but really useful wine aerator for a reasonable price.
> The Original Vacu Vin Wine SaverThe best wine saver on the market in a package with two vacuum stoppers and two wine servers.

And if you want to become a true connoisseur of wine, we recommend reading the book Wine Folly: The Essential Guide to Wine (Amazon link), where you will find all the information you need about winemaking, wine varieties, flavors, and much more.

How to Dispose of Unopened Wine

I would dispose of unopened wine by opening it and using it to do the following:

1.) Clean wine stains. Accidental wine stains can be cleaned with wine!

2.) Make a Sangria or a wine punch. Your unopened wine can be mixable. Flavor components mix for a great lousy wine saver.

3.) Cook with it. Wine (especially red) tenderizes steak when used as a marinade. 

TIP: Use your mulled wine to create great-tasting beverages. Find out how in this article. What happens if you add water to wine? This article explains.

Can You Pour Wine Down the Sink

As a rule of thumb, you can pour two bottles of wine down the sink without hurting your septic system or the environment.

Try pacing the number of bottles you pour per day when you need to discard more than two bottles. Whether cleaning up after a party or simply pouring out a beer, too much alcohol gets poured down our sink pipes at an alarmingly high rate. 

For the most part, it’s okay. 

If sticking to the two-bottle wine rule from above, no harm should come to the septic system or the environment. Only when the alcohol concentration is higher should you discard the alcohol in a different manner – such as bourbon or whiskey. Check the concentration of the substance and be sure it’s no more than 24% to be safe. 

Can You Pour Wine Down the Toilet

Feel free to pour wine down the toilet. If you are concerned, you can wait and see what happens before pouring more than one bottle, but as a general rule, the alcohol should not affect your septic system. Some believe that alcohol, in general, has good antiseptic qualities, making it useful around your home.

For example, Vodka can be a good substitute for any chemical spray used to kill mold.

It is interesting to note that some people use a bottle of Coke to unclog a toilet. Simply pour the coke down your drain, let it fizz for about an hour, and then pour hot water down the channel. Coke has phosphoric acid, which helps unclog your clogged drain. 

TIP: Read this great article on how to store wine with a cork. Learn how to store wine without a cork in this article.

How to Dispose of Unopened Wine Bottles

How to Dispose of Unopened Wine Bottles
How to Dispose of Unopened Wine Bottles

To answer the question of how to dispose of unopened wine bottles, first, you must open the bottle and pour out the wine.

TIP: Most wines go bad once you pop the cork within a day or so. But a Coravin Wine Preservation system (available for a great price on Amazon) can extend the life of your opened wine for weeks or even months. It is awesome. You should check it out to see if it fits your lifestyle.

After that, the good news is that the alternative means for disposing of wine bottles is recycling. Yes, you can recycle wine bottles. If you think about it, wine bottles are made of glass material, and usually, glass materials are recyclable.

However, there is one thing to note, recycling wine bottles is still not yet in its developed stage. The implication is that your state might not have a collection policy specifically for wine bottles. The thing to do is to confirm whether your state collects wine bottles for recycling.

TIP: Can wine bottles and corks be recycled safely? Read this article to find out. This article discusses why you shouldn’t store wine in plastic bottles. Don’t miss it!

Does California Recycle Wine Bottles

California does not recycle wine bottles, BUT California will add wine and liquor bottles to its recycling rebate program under a law taking effect in July 2024. California’s bottle bill recycling program has needed fixing for 40 years,” Senate President Pro Tempore Toni Atkins said recently, “considering the number of bottles the state generates.”

“When you consider that California generates more than 1 billion wine and liquor bottles yearly, that shows what significant progress this legislation is and what an impact it will have.

California’s recycling program previously included beer cans and bottles but not wine or spirits containers. Gov. Gavin Newsom announced recently that he had signed Atkins’ bill into law.

Consumers in California pay a nickel each time they buy a 12-ounce (355-milliliter) bottle or can and a dime for containers over 24 ounces (709 milliliters).

Aside from including bottles and cans containing wine or spirits, the new law adds a 25-cent deposit and refund for wine and distilled spirits sold in a box, bag, or pouch.

It is easy and fun to recycle your wine bottles! Read below!

TIP: If you are interested in buying a wine decanter, I recommend purchasing these two top-quality decanters:

Reusing empty wine bottles for home décor, decanters, tabletop pieces, and hostess gifts are all great ideas.

According to none other than do-it-yourself expert – Martha Stewart, here are some of the top ideas:

  • Use it as a vase for flowers! Use dishwasher-safe enamel paint sold at most craft stores to transform the color of the wine bottles. Wash the bottle inside and out with soapy water, and let dry. Pour a small amount of the paint’s surface conditioner, which primes the glass for the enamel. Swirl to coat entirely, then pour out excess. Stand the bottle upright and dry for one hour. Pour in enough enamel to coat the inside. Dry the bottle upside down for 48 hours, periodically wiping excess from the rim with a damp cloth during the first hour. 
  • Terrariums: The popularity of succulents has risen tremendously in recent years. The plants look modern and don’t require too much maintenance. Place some cactus soil into the bottle. Next, place the plants using chopsticks one at a time. Keep plants indoors and out of direct sunlight. They only need a drop or two of water every two weeks.
  • Display photographs: Wrap decals around your bottles. Use decals that are super-thin clear printable decals that come on paper backing. Put a coat of clear varnish, then soak them briefly in water. They will slide off the backing, ready to be applied to the glass’ smooth surface. Trim the edges once they’re used. 
  • Cut them into new tableware: You may want to invest in a quality glass cutter for this one, but if not, use a Dremel tool with a glass-cutting bit and smooth out the cut edge with a rough-grit square of sandpaper. 
  • Make a hot sauce by infusing vinegar with mild long peppers, spicy Thai peppers, or scorching habaneros peppers. 

Sterilize the bottles using the sterilize button on the dishwasher or boiling them for ten minutes. Wash peppers, cut a slit in each, and insert them into bottles. Next, heat two to three cups of white vinegar to boiling. Funnel into the bottles to fill, let cool, cork, and refrigerate.

TIP: A critical aspect of keeping wine for long periods is the correct temperature and humidity. Check out this complete guide on controlling humidity in the wine fridge and the most common reason your wine cooler is not cooling in this article.


We hope you now know several alternatives to disposing of your sour wine down the drain and also what to do with the bottle. 

If it were up to me, I would make vinegar out of all the wine that doesn’t get finished. It makes for a delicious addition to salads and other appetizers!

Please take comfort in knowing that in the instance you notice many old wine bottles in your home or office. You can relax knowing that you can recycle them and the other uses for them we have mentioned above. 

We hope you enjoyed this article on how to dispose of unopened wine and bottles!  

TIP: Check out this page for a complete list of wine products and accessories I love. You’ll find my recommendations for wine refrigerators, decanters, and aerators and the best place to buy wine online. Click here to see the complete listing.