The Worst Wine Ever

The Worst Wine Ever

Bad Wine

We all know of course what the best wine of all time is. That would be the 1811 Chateau d'Yquem which was awarded 100 points by both Robert Parker and the Wine Spectator (note: there was no such consensus on the 1847)

How can I say this with such confidence? It may have to do with the fact that virtually everyone reading this article won't have even a fighting chance of ever trying the 1811 d'Yquem.

OK, now that we have the best we now need the worst to neatly book-end every other single wine on earth. The problem is that it's not so easy. Parker and the Spec. don't publish such lists probably for obvious reasons such as legal implications. That's where the power of wine blogging comes in. No we're not wimps around here. No sir-ree Bob! Still, how do we come up with such a list? Through tasting? Uh-oh, perhaps we are wimps after all!

Wine Refinery

I decided instead to google, yahoo, etc. “the worst wine ever” to see what I could come up with. No consensus emerged. Far from it, I found a vast and varied world of plonk and people writing about it. From this these fairly dubious and possibly drunk sources I've assembled a list of “the worst wines ever” and present it as an online poll to the readers of this blog to settle this matter once and for all.

Please note that my legal department wants me to point out the none of the wines in this list are my own choices, but are simply plucked from the above mentioned sources. To be fair, there may be a few that made the list simply because the particular bottle tasted was corked or otherwise off. Also, let's not forget that one person's Thunderbird is another person's d'Yquem. OK, maybe that's a bit too generous.

In a way this vinous hodge-podge that reminds me of a list from a ‘certain Chinese encyclopedia’ mentioned in the preface of Foucault's The Order of Things: ‘animals are divided into: (a) belonging to the Emperor, (b) embalmed, (c) tame,(d) sucking pigs, (e) sirens, (f) fabulous, (g) stray dogs, (h) included in the present classification, (i) frenzied, (j) innumerable, (k) drawn with a very fine camelhair brush, (1) et cetera, (m) having just broken the water pitcher, (n) that from a long way off look like flies’. (Aside: quoting Foucault? Have I really become a pompous wine sipping twit? Chorus: Yes! Shut up!) But I digress. Without further ado, the

POLL: Editor's note 5 May 2011: The original poll data was sadly lost in a upgrade. Please enter your choice again so that we can reinstate our important work.

Resources: Wine Searcher's Recommended Wines Bum Wine


← Older Post Newer Post →


  • I voted for Other. When I was in the retail wine biz in the mid-90s a salesman brought in this awful Cabernet Sauvignon from Arizona that smelled like asparagus and tasted like Hall’s Mentholyptus. The owner of the store threw out the salesman and told him to never come back.

    Arthur on
  • I suggest two things for this poll. First, attempt to eliminate wines that are ruined by cork taint (TCA) or other post-fermentation problems like keeing in a warm closet too long where it really isnt’ the winemaker’s fault.

    Second, this poll would be far more interesting if people listed the price paid for the wine; then we’d have a contest to see which winery is charging the most for the worst quality; wouldn’t THAT be interesting??

    R. Leahy

    Richard Leahy on
  • I have to agree with Marcus. I get the opportunity to taste quite a few wines in my business and don’t often hate a wine. I prefer red wine but recently took a cheap Vinho Verde (5.99) to a friend’s house for dinner as it was blazing hot and we were having seafood. The wine was delicious. After dinner (and the sun had set) I was offerd a glass of Yellowtail. It was horrible, terrible, yuk. I choked down half a glass and left.


    Doris Fleming on
  • Gaj,

    I bet you say that to ALL the bloggahs… (And here I thought Doktor Weingolb was the blog you were taking an interest in!)


    I HAVE been reading your blog for the past few weeks (and there haven’t been so
    many posts so I REALLY look forward to new ones!) This worst wine ever idea is the best! I voted [[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[yellow tail]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]], natch.

    Long live Retsina!

    Marcus on
  • Hello,
    I have been reading your blog for the past few weeks and have really taken an interest in what you have to say. I look forward to the new posts each time they come out. I am writing because I thought you might find some interest in this. A few days ago I stumbled upon this video blog and really enjoyed it and thought you and your readers would too. Keep up the great work!

    Gaj on
  • When the Wine Spectator database was free a couple years back (I don’t have a subscription now so I don’t know how it works anymore) you could search by points. If you searched for 50-60 points you’d get some hilarious reviews of awful wines (usually from places like Texas) with comments like “notes of skunk and silage.” That would be a place to start…

    anonymous on
  • Thanks for the warning, Arnie!

    The asking price for the ’77 Lafite seems to be around $200 bucks a bottle, which is a fortune for a horrible vintage and guaranteed undrinkable wine. Someone might want it for a 30th birthday present next year but yes, not a good value by any stretch of the imagination.

    Steve De Long on
  • Worst wine? Aside from “one man’s meat is” depends on who is doing the evaluation and what is the purpose of the question. A friend asked me about the quality (and the value) of her(?) husbands cellar.He never considered it hers but now he’s terminal and she has to make the decisons about disposal (of the wine) or its consumption.He thought he had a liquid gold mine having been prey for years to salesmen at X’s store in Scarsdale,NY. They filled his head with dreams of a financial bonanza but when the collection was offered for auction its real value became apparent.I asked some friends for comments as she thought I was trying to grab the family jewels at a fire sale. Together with some research we gave her our collective wisdom. With thanks she wanted to give me a present for my efforts and was shocked when I declined the offer: a case of Lafitte-Rothchild 1977.$ value?? Tasting/Consump- tion value? YOU TELL ME. Drink wine,not labels Advising friends re their wine cellar is hazardous..

    Arnie Eisen on
  • Gaj, thanks for the kind words even if it is comment spam. Please tell Gary that I wasn’t the guy who returned the bottles purchased in the bargain bin.

    Marcus and Doris, Thanks for the comments and votes. I’m not a big fan of [yellowtail], however, there is vinous dreck on the list that are would put it to shame.

    Richard, I think you’ve touched on a very good point. In the end, with all the ornery fun the Worst Wine Ever Poll promises it’s really not that interesting. Given the way I assembled the poll, it was difficult to eliminate wines that were spoiled and not the fault of the winemaker. I did nix a few entries that were were obviously spoiled like a Baumard Sauvennieres and a list of wines that were made to be consumed young but were over 10 years old when opened. In terms of price comparisons, I know of a few wineries that provide recipes for sangria using their $10+ wines but don’t know if they even belong in the same plonk/value matrix as a $2.29 bottle of Thunderbird (2.29 at Goody Goody Liquor in Dallas the best price found on Horrible at $12 vs toxic at $2?

    Steve De Long on
  • The 2002 Renwood Grandmère Zinfandel is the worst wine I’ve ever had. Imagine blueberry and rasberry syrup mixed with rubbing alcohol… that should give you a pretty good idea of what it tastes like. At least I got it for half price.

    Whit Stevens on

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3

Leave a comment

De Long Blog

Podcast on Read Between the Wines

Podcast on Read Between the Wines

Steve De Long
By Steve De Long

Very honored to be a guest on Pierre Ferland's Read Between the Wines. I'm following Karen MacNeil, author of The Wine Bible, so hopefully I'm...

Read more
Happy Champagne Day!

Happy Champagne Day!

Steve De Long
By Steve De Long

Celebrating it with a Yann Alexandre Brut Noir - big but delicate, fruity yet restrained, a complicated wine from a (kind of) unheralded and imaginative...

Read more