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The truth about using pennies to unspoil wine

Recently, the Internet has been buzzing about the myth that you can unspoil wine simply by dropping a penny into it. However, this tactic will normally not work unless certain conditions are met. In short, here’s what you need to know about fixing wine with copper coins.

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First of all, as Gizmodo reports, the pennies must be made of copper more than anything else. That means you need coins made before 1982, which are 95% copper. Newer versions are plated with copper, but they’re made of 97.5% zinc. If you don’t have any such pennies around, actual silverware does the trick as well, Reactions says in the chemistry life hack video below.

But Gizmodo points out that the trick has limited use and will only work if you’re using the right kind of bad wine.

The copper reacts with the thiols that are giving your wine a bad smell, forming sulfide crystals that are odorless. If the smell disappears, your coin did wonders. But there are 100 different volatile sulfur compounds that could be giving your old wine a nasty smell, according to wine writer Jamie Goode, and copper pennies can’t fix them all.

That means in many cases you might not be able to fix your old wine with this trick, so you’ll just have to throw it out. Next time you’re considering having a glass of wine, you might consider sharing it with someone else instead of leaving it in the fridge for days.

Reactions’ video explaining the nuances of fixing bad wine with a copper penny follows below.

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This article was originally published on BGR.com