The exocytic pathway provides a physical route through which newly synthesized secretory and membrane proteins are deployed to the eukaryote cell surface. For newly synthesized alpha1-antitrypsin (AAT), the modification of its asparagine-linked oligosaccharides by a slow-acting mannosidase partitions the misfolded monomer into the proteasomal degradation pathway. Herein, we asked whether, and how, modification by endoplasmic reticulum mannosidase I (ERManI) contributes to the preferential selection of the misfolded AAT monomer for proteasomal degradation. Transiently expressed mutant and WT AAT variants underwent rapid destabilization in response to an artificially elevated ERManI concentration in the murine hepatoma cell line, Hepa1a. Based on the mannosidase- and lactacystin-sensitive properties of intracellular turnover, a stochastic model is proposed in which the delayed onset of the glycan modification, relative to the duration of nonnative protein structure, coordinates the preferential degradation of the misfolded monomer and spares the native molecule from destruction. Newly synthesized endogenous transferrin underwent degradation in response to an elevated concentration of ERManI, whereas the nonglycosylated secretory glycoprotein albumin was not affected. Taken together, these findings indicate that efficient conformational maturation might function as the initial quality control standard for a broad population of glycoproteins.