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Snooth User: Barbara Green

Wine bottles in a flood

Posted by Barbara Green, Apr 20, 2013.

On Thursday, after nearly 8 inches of rain overnight, the river two blocks behind us flooded and filled our basement where, of course, the wine was stored. The water went up to the floor rafters. If the bottles survived intact (not broken), will they be okay to drink?


Reply by duncan 906, Apr 20, 2013.

I think they should be OK.If wine cannot get out then water cannot get in

Reply by Barbara Green, Apr 20, 2013.

Thanks. That was my inclination. My husband says he won't drinl them, tho. So that's why I asked.

Reply by GregT, Apr 20, 2013.

Cork is waterproof. You are unlikely to have seepage into the bottles. 

However, you WILL have crud all over them, whether you can see it or not. And some of that might bring bacteria and nasties. 

I would clean each bottle individually.

Bleach is a good disinfectant, but it MAY allow for some TCA to develop, so I'd look for a different disinfectant. 

And your labels are likely to be wrecked, so write down on each bottle what's inside. Use a sharpie or something that won't wash off after you're done cleaning the bottles.

And I don't know where you're storing them, but that area must be cleaned too.

Reply by Welkja, Apr 20, 2013.

I was interested in this and felt I did not have the expertise to address it and looked up the question. In Queensland, they had serious floods that affected the wine of a lot of people. You should read the article and decide for yourself what you should do. The website is  They go through many variables you should consider if you want to reclaim wine from a flood. Please read it! I'm very sorry to here about your flood and hope everything works out well for you!


Reply by Richard Foxall, Apr 20, 2013.

I've had basement floods but never had it hit the wine.  I put in a much better pump after the last one, and then went all in and put my bottles in racks close to the floor.  I'm pretty exposed now, but between the new pump and vigilance, I think I am okay.  GregT is right about the label damage.  I would consider moving everything to a dry place right away for a while, and wiping things down, but I think bleach would be a bad idea for a lot of reasons. Good luck.  If you were going to auction these wines, I would say things are bleak, but for drinking they are probably fine.

Reply by GregT, Apr 21, 2013.

You're right but I'm wondering how many Katrina bottles from New Orleans are finding their way into the auction market? Or anywhere really - floods don't need to be newsworthy to be problems.

Rough times - cleaning the bottles, the racks, the cellar . . . lots of work.

Good luck!


Reply by napagirl68, Apr 21, 2013.


What should she use to disinfect?   Isopropyl alcohol?   I am curious.  I know that bleach is a no-no with TCA... What about if flood water had sewage???   That would be bad.  I would think irradiation the best treatment, though I am not familiar with this.

Since they weren't submerged long (from description), I wonder if pulling corks, swabbing neck of inside bottle, and recorking with new corks might work?  

Barbara, I am sorry to hear of your flood.  I would call a wine storage/bottling company  for advice....




Reply by GregT, Apr 22, 2013.

Great question. I'm not an expert by any means, but usually you use chlorine on non-porous surfaces only, like tile or toilets. You don't use it on wood or marble or something where mold penetrates. For  those you can use things like borax, or hydrogen peroxide. Some people suggest sodium bicarbonate and sodium triphosphate, but I guess it really depends on your problem. Floods are kind of the worst thing because you might have mold but you may also have all kinds of other bacteria, fungi, and generally toxic crap floating around.

I'd contact a reputable and knowledgeable company and hope for the best. In NYC, you can never really trust anyone to actually know what they're talking about.

Here's an interesting article:

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