We all love wine, right? Sadly, though, we don’t all have the same budget and we can’t always afford the best – or even the mid-range – so it’s a case of making do with half-decent or even slightly dodgy.

This doesn’t have to be a disaster, though, as even the cheaper wines can be improved before you drink it with an easy trick or two.

For slightly dodgy whites

One thing about white wines is that they’re best served chilled. This can often chill down the aromas so that they’re barely noticeable – you can’t smell much, you can’t taste much. Obviously if you’re going to a wine tasting this will not fly, but if you’re planning to hang out with friends in their backyard, then a high-acid wine like a Pinot Grigio is nigh-on perfect. Just place it on ice and keep it there…

For slightly dodgy reds

Reds are a bit harder to fudge as you don’t chill them to numbness. however, you can decant and aerate them to improve the flavor somewhat.

By decanting the wine you’re letting oxygen in, as well as letting some of the less-pleasant aromas and tastes dissipate. It’s easy to decant a wine, you just need to pour it into a larger vessel – aim for one with a large surface area – more room for the oxygen to absorb into the wine. You can speed up the aeration process a bit by pouring the wine into the decanter from a long way, then shaking it about a bit to mix in air. This means it’ll be ready after 30 minutes or so.

If you’re really in a hurry, then you can try using a blender. Yes, a blender (just don’t tell anyone). If guests are arriving any minute, pour the wine into a clean blender and give it a 30-second whizz before transferring it into a decanter. The whizzing introduces air into the wine much faster than manual shaking. This does work, but don’t admit to doing it, ok?

Bust out the emergency peanuts

If your wine is beyond help, you’ll have to think outside the box. Bring out the salty nuts and chips, as well as the wasabi peas. If your guests’ palates are distracted by salt and spice, they’ll be less able to discern the off notes in the wine.

For real emergencies, just pour the plonk into a sangria or mull it – it adds interest and you can always blame your naff mulling technique…