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Exploding Wine Bottles Prompt Recall in Pa.

Sparkling white wine drinkers may want to drink something less explosive for a couple months, after the risk of spontaneously exploding wine bottles prompted a recall in Pennsylvania.

You won't find Indigenous Selections Prosecco Brut 2013 on shelves, since the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (PLCB) yanked it over reports of full, unopened bottles exploding at state liquor stores, reports the Pittsburg Post-Gazette.

What do wine consumers need to know about this potentially volatile vintage?

PLCB Pulls Exploding Bottle

The PLCB issued a statement Tuesday warning consumers to "use caution when handling" bottles of the 2013 Prosecco Brut, a sweet sparkling white wine. The wine was sold for $12.99 in approximately 180 Fine Wine & Good Spirits stores in Pennsylvania beginning in June; it is no longer available at the time of this posting.

Pennsylvania, like many states, regulates the sale of wine and liquor through state-sponsored retail locations (i.e., Fine Wine & Good Spirits). Because of this, it is unlikely you'll find this exploding Prosecco in any other retail location.

Although the PLCB has had no reports of consumers injured by the combusting bottles, anyone who purchased a bottle should dispose of it -- preferably out of range of potential shrapnel.

The recalled bottles are Indigenous Selections Prosecco Brut 2013, stamped with code 33283, and sold in 750 mL volumes.

Why Does Wine Explode?

Sparkling wines are chock-full of dissolved carbon dioxide, the gas released during the fermentation process. While wines may contain yeast when sold in stores, there shouldn't be much active fermentation occurring while a bottle sits on retail shelves.

But if enough fermentation occurs after a bottle of wine gets into consumers' hands, then carbon dioxide can continue to build up in a bottle, turning it into a ticking time bomb. As Paul Gregutt of the Seattle Times notes, this can happen even with red wines, and it can be dangerous as well as cause for a refund.

Wine makers implicitly warrant their products to be merchantable, so they must be fit for sale to consumers. Bottles which may unexpectedly explode after or before purchase fail to meet that warranty, and consumers who bought such a wine are entitled to a refund.

Additional questions about this exploding wine may be directed to the PLCB at (800) 272-7522 (then press 3) or at lbconsumer@pa.gov.

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