How To Tell If Wine Is Corked? (TOP 5 Tips)

A ‘corked’ wine will smell and taste like musty cardboard, wet dog, or a moldy basement. It’s very easy to identify! Some wines have just the faintest hint of TCA- which will essentially rob the wine of its aromas and make it taste flat. Only wines closed with a natural cork will have this problem!

What does it mean if a wine is corked?

  • A corked wine does not mean a wine that has tiny particles of cork floating around in the glass. Corked wine is a term for a wine that has become contaminated with cork taint. Cork taint is not simply the taste of a cork. Rather it is caused by the presence of a chemical compound called TCA (2,4,6 – trichloroanisole).


Can you drink wine that is corked?

Is corked wine safe to drink? Yes. Cork taint isn’t bad for you; it just really dampens the mood.

Can corked wine make you sick?

The extent of what most people know about wine that is said to be corked, however, is that it just isn’t going to taste very good. Corked wine won’t make you sick, but it sure does taste bad.

What happens when a wine is corked?

Corked wines smell and taste of damp, soggy, wet or rotten cardboard. Cork taint dulls the fruit in a wine, renders it lackluster and cuts the finish. The obviousness of the corked smell and taste depends both on the extent of the taint, as well as the wine drinker’s sensitivity to it (aka your cork taste threshold).

How can you tell if wine is off?

Your Bottle of Wine Might Be Bad If:

  1. The smell is off.
  2. The red wine tastes sweet.
  3. The cork is pushed out slightly from the bottle.
  4. The wine is a brownish color.
  5. You detect astringent or chemically flavors.
  6. It tastes fizzy, but it’s not a sparkling wine.

Can a screw top bottle of wine be corked?

Can a screw-cap wine be “corked?” Yes, it can, though it depends on how strictly you define the term. Contrary to almost universal belief, screw-cap wines are indeed susceptible to the sort of mouldy, off aromas typically associated with contaminated corks.

How should you test whether a wine is cork tainted?

The best way is to start by smelling the wet end of the cork every time you open a bottle. Look for a faint or strong musty aroma. Then smell the wine and look for the same. The more you practice detecting cork taint, the more sensitive you will become to it.

How long does unopened wine last?

The best way to enjoy your wine fresh is to drink it shortly after you purchase it. However, you can still enjoy unopened wine about 1–5 years after the expiration date, while leftover wine can be enjoyed 1–5 days after it has been opened, depending on the type of wine.

Can you drink opened wine after 2 weeks?

Drinking an already-opened bottle of wine will not make you sick. You can usually leave it for at least a few days before the wine starts to taste different. Pouring yourself a glass from a bottle that’s been open for longer than a week may leave you with an unpleasant taste in your mouth.

Is wine bad if cork is wet?

No, a wine cork should never be wet or soaked. It should be moist at most, providing enough moisture to keep oxygen and air from seeping into the wine and creating an unpleasant flavor and odor.

How common is corked wine?

There is no scientific number we can reference as to the exact percentage of wine bottles that are corked. Estimates range from 3% to 8%. That is a lot more corked bottles of wine than every wine loving consumer wishes they encountered. Issues with corks is the number one problem and fault with wine today.

How can you tell if red wine is corked?

Corked Wine A ‘corked’ wine will smell and taste like musty cardboard, wet dog, or a moldy basement. It’s very easy to identify! Some wines have just the faintest hint of TCA- which will essentially rob the wine of its aromas and make it taste flat. Only wines closed with a natural cork will have this problem!

Can you get rid of cork taint?

A study carried out in France has shown that plastic clingfilm can successfully remove 2,4,6-trichloroanisole (TCA), also known as cork taint, although its application is probably of more use in the winery than at home. The plastic wrap was then added to each barrel and tests were taken after eight hours.

How do you fix cork taint?

In a glass pitcher, wad up roughly a square foot of Saran Wrap or other polyethylene plastic wrap. Pour the tainted wine over the plastic wrap in the pitcher. Expose all of the wine to the plastic wrap by gently swirling the wine in the pitcher for five or 10 minutes.

Corked Wine Smell Guide: How To Tell If Wine Is Corked

It is estimated that corked wine, or wine that has been tainted by cork, occurs in around five percent of cork-enclosed bottles. Therefore, if you are a frequent wine drinker, you are more than likely to come across a corked bottle or two over your lifetime. How to detect whether your bottle of wine is corked, as well as what to do if it happens, are outlined below. Let’s start with the things that aren’t corked:

  • There are no shards of cork floating about in your wine or a cork coated in tiny white crystals that are the problem. These crystals, which are referred to as tartrate, are a naturally occurring by-product of some wines and are completely safe to humans. You also can’t detect if a wine is corked by smelling the cork
  • Instead, you have to smell the wine. The fact that the bottle you opened was sealed with a screw cap or synthetic cork means it cannot be corked
  • This is a nice tidbit to know.

How Does Wine Become Corked?

There are no shards of cork floating around in your wine or a cork coated in tiny white crystals that cause this problem. They are called tartrate crystals, and they are a natural by-product of some wines that is completely innocuous. If you smell the cork itself, you will not be able to determine whether or not the wine has been tampered with. The fact that the bottle you opened was sealed with a screw cap or synthetic cork makes it impossible to cork; this is a fascinating tidbit to know.

How to Tell if Your Wine Is Corked

You may find it challenging to determine whether your wine has been corked if you have never smelled a corked wine before. “However, once you’ve smelled a corked wine, you’ll never forget it,” Beavers adds of the experience. One method of determining whether or not a wine is corked is to smell and taste it, and then try to identify the notes that you’ve learned to anticipate from the wine’s style and compare them. It’s very safe to assume that something is wrong if a wine normally smells fruity but you aren’t picking up any fruit notes when you smell it for the first time.

“When I used to teach wine lessons and we received a corked wine, I would become really happy,” Beavers recalls, noting that it was frequently his students’ first encounters tasting cork contaminated wine.

What To Do If Your Wine Is Corked

You may find it difficult to determine whether your wine has been corked if you have never smelled one before. While Beavers claims that smelling a corked wine will leave you with a bad taste in your mouth, he also claims that it will stay with you forever. But one approach to figure out whether a wine is corked is to smell and taste it while trying to identify the characteristics you’ve learned to anticipate from the particular wine style in question. It’s very safe to assume that anything is wrong if a wine normally smells fruity but you aren’t picking up any fruit notes when you smell it in this case.

“When I used to teach wine lessons and we got a corked wine, I would become really happy,” Beavers recalls, noting that it was frequently his students’ first experiences tasting cork contaminated wine.

How to Tell if Wine is Corked

Corked wine may be so unpleasant to drink that some individuals would swear off wine after only one terrible experience with it. But. how can you know whether a bottle of wine has been corked? Given that cork taint is difficult to detect, distinguishing between poor wine and wine that has gone bad can be challenging. We’ll go through the following topics: How often does a bottle of wine get corked?

What is the source of the problem? What can we do to make a difference? In their lifetime, the average wine drinker will meet around 100 corked bottles. Corked wine accounts for around 2-3 percent of total wine production. Outrageous.

Corked Wine Clues

Cork taint, also known as TCA in the wine industry and 2, 4, 6, Trichloroanisole to chemists, affects around 2-3 percent of all bottled wines (or about a bottle in every 2 cases). This may seem like a little amount, but if you drink wine on a regular basis, you’ll come across a corked bottle around 100 times in your adult life, which, believe me, can be a big drag. Purchase the book and receive the course! With the purchase of Wine Folly: Magnum Edition, you will receive a FREE copy of the Wine 101 Course (a $50 value).

Amarone della Valpolicella was one of the wines I brought with me on a trip to Los Angeles on one occasion.

Although I was a little off the mark, they had never smelled a corked wine before.


Is corked wine safe to drink?

Cork taint, also known as TCA in the wine industry and 2, 4, 6, Trichloroanisole to chemists, affects roughly 2-3 percent of all bottled wines and is caused by the chemical 2, 4, 6, Trichloroanisole (or about a bottle in every 2 cases). However, if you drink wine on a regular basis, chances are you’ll come across a corked bottle approximately 100 times in your adult life, and trust me when I say that it becomes a genuine pain in the neck. You can get the course if you buy the book! Wine Folly: Magnum Edition includes a complimentary copy of the Wine 101 Course, a $50 value.

Once, I took a beautiful bottle of Amarone della Valpolicella with me when I flew to Los Angeles for work.

In their defense, they had never ever smelled a corked bottle of wine before.


What does a Corked Wine Smell Like?

The following is the profile of a corked wine containing high levels of TCA:

  • The smell of musty, wet dog, wet cardboard, wet newspaper, and Grandma’s basement

Revisit the Smells of Doom Take a washcloth and dunk it in water before wiping your armpits. Remove the excess water, but do not totally dry it. Place it in a plastic jar with a tight-fitting cover and set it aside overnight. Congratulations! You’ll wake up with a musty towel to smell in the morning. By the way, if a wine has low levels of TCA, it is possible that it will not have the scents described above. Instead, it will just have a lack of fruity and flowery aromas, as well as a lack of flavor.

Examine the following checklist to determine if TCA is the source of the problem:

Cork Taint (TCA) Checklist

  1. A genuine cork has been used to seal the bottle. (instead of corks, there are other options)
  2. Is the wine receiving plaudits and receiving evaluations that don’t match what you’re tasting in your glass
  3. Is your tastebuds acting up once more? (Drink some water, smell your forearm, and repeat the process.) Is it possible that your drinking companion believes it is corked as well?
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It takes a little time to become proficient at identifying the corked flavor in wine. If your sommelier tries to take the corked bottle away from you, ask her to leave you a splash so that you may learn from her mistakes as well.

She will think you’re strange, but keep in mind that you are the one who has the credit card. TIP: Sniffing out a corked red wine is more difficult than sniffing out a corked white wine.

Handling Corked Wine

It takes a little practice to learn how to recognize the flavor of corked wine. Even if the sommelier attempts to take the corked bottle away from you, beg her to leave you a splash so that you may benefit from the experience too. Even if she may think you’re crazy, just remind yourself that it is your credit card that she is concerned about! TIP: Sniffing out a corked red wine is more difficult than sniffing out a corked white wine, so be patient.

Where Does TCA Really Come From?

TCA is more bizarre than you may imagine. A reaction occurs when microscopic fungus and bacteria in the air come into touch with chlorine and phenolic chemicals at the exact same moment. As it happens, vineyards are in the business of producing phenolic chemicals, and many wineries formerly utilized chlorine solutions to clean their equipment. While this behavior is now widely recognized as a major no-no, it is extremely difficult to eliminate TCA once it has taken hold. TCA is most commonly introduced into wine by the use of corks.

you guessed it.

Now that you’ve learned how reactive chlorine may be in the presence of wine, you may want to reconsider using it to clean your home.

Ask a Somm: How Do I Know if a Wine Is Corked?

In this column, wine experts from all around the country answer your questions about the wine they drink and how to pair it with different foods. Not every artisan cocktail bar employs a sommelier, but that is precisely the situation at MiniBar, a year-old small, vintage drinking hole in Los Angeles’ Little Tokyo neighborhood. Jeremy Allen works as both general manager and sommelier at the Hollywood location, and he has developed a compact selection of well selected wines that are focused on value and obtained both locally and from Europe.

  • Q:How can I tell whether a bottle of wine has been corked?
  • Awesome!
  • Oops, that was not fantastic!
  • We are all friends who like spending time with one another.
  • Corked wine is an unique condition, more specifically, it is wine that has been contaminated by TCA, a molecule that interacts with wine and causes it to taste and smell like anything from a wet dog to wet cardboard to a beach restroom.
  • It is always on the lookout for methods to get into bottles and spoil beautiful wine.
  • TCA is difficult to work with since the chemical is employed throughout the winemaking process, all the way up to the point of bottling.

Winemakers battle tooth and nail to prevent it from happening, and the winemaker is victorious 95% of the time.

This is because TCA only responds once the wine has been locked away and left alone with the cork still in the bottle.

It only takes one molecule to make a difference.

Or does it have a scent that reminds you of a rainy forest?

Does it smell like rotting feces, or like the most precious and finest poop on the planet?

Is it the smell of The Village Voiceunderneath the bus stop bench?

Does it have the fragrance of aCORK?

However, if you feel the need to challenge it, then go ahead and do so.

There is a direct correlation between the number of bottles consumed and the likelihood of receiving a faulty bottle.

If a dry cork crumbles, it might be a sign that a vintage wine has been exposed to the elements and is thus less than optimal, but that is a different story.

In addition, in delicate social circumstances, questioning a wine or returning it may make you appear aggressive, finicky, or twerpy to your companions.

It’s a difficult scenario.

It might be for business, it could be for a meeting with the parents, or it may just be to impress a date with your sense of adventure (natural wine and stench), or comfort (fruit-forward guzzle).

However, if it was you who placed the purchase and paid for it, please do not hesitate to return it, or at the very least ask one of our customer care representatives to check.

While I am actually grateful to any customer who participates with us in order to make them happy instantly in the Yelp world, I am grateful to any customer who participates with us in order to make them happy instantly here, inside the bar, before they leave, instead of them not saying anything and blaming us later for the bad wine.

The client is always right, and in fact, the more input you receive, the better.

We receive credit from our wine suppliers for corked bottles.

If you don’t like it for any reason, you can label it as corked. I’m going to drink it. Do you have a question about wine that you’d want answered? Please share your thoughts in the comments section.

Corked, Cooked, Bretty, Bad: How to Spot 7 Common Wine Flaws

In this column, wine experts from all around the country answer your questions regarding the wine industry. Although hardly every artisan cocktail bar employs a sommelier, the year-old small, vintage drinking denMiniBar in Los Angeles does just that. A brief list of mindfully selected wines focusing on value has been crafted by Jeremy Allen, who acts as both general manager and sommelier at the restaurant in Hollywood. The wines have been obtained locally as well as from around Europe. Within the following section, Allen muses about the problem of a “corked” bottle of wine, and provides options for how to deal with it.

  1. “Beer, wine, or cider?” Allen inquires.
  2. Are you overcooked, undercorked, or just plain exhausted.
  3. Uninvited guests at a posh dinner party come to mind when I think of “corked wine.” We are all friends who like spending time with one another.
  4. Corked wine is an unique ailment, more specifically, it is wine that has been contaminated by TCA, a substance that interacts with wine and causes it to taste and smell like anything from a wet dog to wet cardboard to the inside of a beach restroom.
  5. It can be found on cardboard, corks, and barrels, among other places, seeking for ways to get into bottles and contaminate great wine.
  6. Given that TCA is employed throughout the winemaking process, from fermentation to bottling, it can be challenging to work with.
  7. Winemakers battle tooth and nail to keep it from happening, and they are successful 95% of the time.

This is because TCA only responds after the wine has been locked away and left alone with the cork in the bottle.

Just one molecule is required.

It has a strong scent of wet dog, doesn’t it.

Is it a dripping sponge?

TheVillage Voiceunder that bus stop seat may have a distinct fragrance, but does it smell like anything else?

Is there a distinct scent of aCORK about it?

In any case, if you feel the need to challenge it, go ahead.

There is a direct correlation between the number of bottles consumed and the likelihood of receiving a poor bottle.

If a dry cork crumbles, it might be a sign that a vintage wine has been exposed to the elements and is therefore less than optimal; however, that is another story.

In addition, in delicate social circumstances, challenging a wine or returning it may make you appear aggressive, finicky, or twerpy to your friends and colleagues.

Uncertainty prevails in this environment.

Choosing, tasting, and sharing wine comes with a lot of responsibility.

You don’t know who’s footing the bill, what Emily’s mother and father drink, or whether they have a cellar loaded with Harlan Estate or a fridge packed with Barefoot Bubbly at this point.

Ultimately, you are paying to have a good time, and we are being compensated to make it as simple as possible for you.

You have given us permission to correct the situation as soon as possible.

Finally, keep in mind that if you send it back or return the opened bottle to the wine shop, we will send it back to you as well as the original purchaser.

When you return poor bottles, we do not lose money; instead, we build a deeper and healthier relationship with the visitor.

Corked is a term used to describe something that does not appeal to the consumer for whatever reason. Yes, I’ll take a sip of this. Do you have a question about wine that you’d like to have answered? Contact us. Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.


You shouldn’t glance at the cork, smell the cork, or search for particles of cork in your glass since none of these will tell you if a wine is corked. Instead, look for signs of cork in the wine. The only way to tell if your wine has been tainted by cork is to smell and taste it. A chemical known as TCA (or 2, 4, 6-trichloranisole for all you chem-nerds) seeps into corks and causes a musty stench to permeate the contents of the bottle. Stick your nose in your glass and take a whiff around for notes of moldy cardboard, musty cellar, or mangy sponge, all of which are frequent markers of the presence of TCA.


“Is it possible to put a shelf in a store window with the sun shining on it? Unfortunately, the bottle of wine is a dud.” “Cooked” refers to a wine that has been exposed to high temperatures for an extended length of time. Even at temperatures slightly over 75 degrees, warm temperatures tend to dull or flatten a wine’s flavor; in severe cases, the wine might take on a stewed, prune-like, or raisin-like flavor. It is at this point that knowing where your wine is sourced is advantageous. Wine storage is extremely important, yet it is much too often disregarded.

Unfortunately, that bottle of wine is a dud.


Cooked wine is also characterized by a sour taste and a bitter aftertaste.


Consider the flavor of a fresh, green Granny Smith apple. Allow it to sit out on the counter for a day after it has been sliced up. This causes the color to turn dark, and the tastes to taste brown as well: dried out, worn-out, and cider-like. Oxidized wines behave in a similar way, and they typically have a nutty flavor to them as well. Older wines that have been bottled with cork closures can naturally develop some nice, delicate oxidative tastes as a result of the cork allowing a little amount of oxygen to pass through over time.


Look for Band-Aids and barnyards with your nose. In either case, the wine has been infected by a yeast called brettanomyces (also known as brett), which, like any yeast, may be found all over the world. Brett, in particular, like spending time in barrels in vineyards, and once it has taken up residence in your winery, it is famously tough to expel. In fact, several wines have become well-known for their peculiar bretty flavour as a result of this. Some individuals (including this author) appreciate brett in tiny amounts since it may also express meaty and spicy flavors such as bacon, leather, or cloves, among other things.

If, on the other hand, your wine smells like straight-up dung, feel free to request a different bottle of wine. There is a strong chance that other bottles of the same wine will be damaged in the same way.


VA is an abbreviation for Volatile Acidity, which is naturally found in all wines in trace amounts and which normally does not create difficulties. However, when harmful bacteria such as acetobacter (which transforms wine into vinegar) are present in the winery, a type of wine infection can arise as a result of the interaction of the bacteria, alcohol, and air. In certain instances, VA goes beyond, and the wine’s fresh, fruity aromas are completely eliminated, with just a sour, vinegary taste remaining in their stead.

That is not a positive development.


Some wines actually restart their fermentation process while still in the bottle, resulting in an off-flavorous and spritzy finish to the wine. This occurs when there is still yeast and sugar present in the bottle of wine. The yeast is starting to become hungry! And they consume the sugar as part of their work responsibilities. However, because alcohol and carbon dioxide are produced as byproducts of fermentation, your wine will have a slight fizz to it. Bacteria left in the wine may also merrily munch away at other typical components of the wine, releasing carbon dioxide and other off-putting aromatics as a result of their activities.


Sulfur is not a fault in and of itself, to state the obvious. Sulfur is not a harmful element in and of itself! In the winemaking process, it is critical to utilize reasonable amounts of sulfur: sulfur helps to prevent additional defects (such as those mentioned above) by acting as a natural preservative and keeping microorganisms at away. Specifying that a wine be created without sulfur is like to requesting that your supper be prepared without the cook washing her hands first. Risky. However, like with everything, having too much of a good thing may be detrimental.

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Two more sulfur-related defects have to do with difficult chemical processes that might result in a wine that smells like rotten eggs or garlic and onions, among other unpleasant aromas and flavors.

So you think you’ve spotted a flaw. Now what?

Inquire about a second opinion! Shutterstock Any of the situations listed above justifies requesting a fresh bottle. Please keep in mind that it is usually courteous to do so before you have finished the most of it! In all circumstances, begin your conversation with a straightforward and honest declaration about your likes and preferences at the time of purchase. Make no apprehensions about asking inquiries or seeking guidance. This unique conversation with the salesperson, server, or sommelier will assist to guarantee that you start off on the proper route in the first place.

  1. Don’t be afraid to take a few sips, swirl them about in your mouth, then swish them around some more.
  2. The optimal approach is one that is calm, ambiguous, and casual: “Hmm.
  3. What do you think about it?
  4. A bottle that has been damaged will be replaced as soon as possible.
  5. The scenario becomes more complicated if the wine is technically sound but just does not appeal to your personal preferences.
  6. However, if the wine is extremely pricey, she may find it more difficult to rationalize the purchase.
  7. The main line is that there’s no danger in reaching out to find out.
  8. You’ll most likely have a greater understanding of why the wine tastes or smells the way it does, and you’ll be better able to appreciate it for what it truly is.

And, hey, you’ll be correct almost 1 out of every 20 times! The fresh bottle, as well as your following better night’s sleep, will make whatever worry you had about asking completely worthwhile.

How to Tell if Wine Is Corked

Documentation Download Documentation Download Documentation One of life’s little joys is savoring a fine bottle of wine with friends. On the other hand, it is estimated that around 5% of the world’s wines are corked, which results in a less than pleasurable experience while drinking wine. In order to detect whether or not a bottle of wine has been corked, it is recommended that you smell the bottle before drinking it. Even though it smells OK, you should still taste it to ensure that it has the strong, fresh aromas you were expecting when you purchased it.

  1. 1 Take a whiff of the wine. If a bottle of wine has been corked, it will have an odor that you would not expect to find in a decent bottle of wine. It may have a musty scent, or it may smell like damp towels, a wet dog, wet cardboard, or wet newspaper.
  • Keep in mind that your initial scent is more dependable than your subsequent sniffs. Don’t believe everything you hear
  • Wine becomes corked when it is subjected to TCA, also known as “2,4,6-Trichloroanisole,” a naturally occurring molecule that may be found in the cork of the wine bottle.
  • 2 Take a sip of the wine. If the wine has only been exposed to a little quantity of TCA, it may be difficult to determine whether or not it has been corked only by smelling it. When the wine is tasted, it will have a bland flavor and will not have any fruit qualities. Some individuals sometimes characterize corked wine as tasting astringent
  • This is a common description.
  • A wine that has only a minor cork snag may be devoid of scent and taste, and may even be unpalatable. If you did try it and it turned out to be corked, the flavor was almost certainly unpleasant. It may even have had a flavor that was evocative of paint thinner. Afterwards, rinse your mouth out with water and get a new bottle of water.
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  • s3 Ensure that you taste the wine before serving it to anybody else! This allows the host to determine whether or not the wine is suitable for consumption, and it prevents the wine from being poured into several glasses before it is discovered that the wine is not suitable for eating. Return your corked wine to the store where you purchased it to receive a replacement or a refund, whichever you want.
  • If you are in a restaurant and you purchase a bottle of wine, be certain that the waiter enables you to sample the wine before serving any other visitors at the table
  • Otherwise, the wine may be spoiled.
  • 4 Avoid conflating a corked bottle of wine with other issues. If anything about the wine doesn’t feel quite right to you, don’t immediately assume that it’s been corked. It’s possible that there are additional factors contributing to the poor taste of your wine
  • Oxidized wine is wine that has been exposed to oxygen, resulting in a wine that tastes flat and lifeless, with a slight vinegary flavor. If your wine tastes like this (consider the difference between the flavor of a flat soda and the taste of a fresh soda, as the concept is similar), it is likely that it has simply oxidized. The color of the wine (assuming it is white) will have altered as well, becoming dull yellow or brownish in appearance. Maderized wine is wine that has been warmed, maybe as a result of storage or during transport. This wine will have a flavor that is evocative of almonds or candied fruits, and the cork may be pushed out of the bottle a little. This occurs as a result of the expansion that occurs when the wine is exposed to excessive heat
  • It is also conceivable that the wine has refermented. In spite of the fact that wine is a result of fermentation, surplus yeast can interact with the wine after it has been bottle and cause it to have a bubbly flavor.
  1. 1 Understand how wine becomes corked. The term “corked wine” refers to wine that has come into touch with a cork that has been tainted by the term “cork taint.” This occurs when a wine cork comes into touch with a molecule known as TCA (2,4,6-Trichloroanisole), which is widely found in wine.
  • In wineries, TCA is formed when natural fungi present in corks come into touch with particular chemicals contained in sanitation and sterilizing solutions used in the process of making wine.
  • 2Understand what it does not mean to be corked. Many people are under the impression that corked wine is just wine that has little pieces of cork floating about in it. This is incorrect. This isn’t the case at all. Despite the fact that it is irritating, the wine is not damaged
  • 3 Keep in mind that it is possible that the contamination was not caused by the cork on the bottle. A screw-top bottle of wine may occasionally be encountered, but it will still have the appearance and flavor of a corked bottle of wine. It is possible that the wine became tainted in the barrel before it was bottled in this instance.
  • As a result, you should return the wine to its original location. If a vineyard has sold an entire batch of corked wine, you should take a second look at the quality of that particular wine.

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  • TCA is difficult to remove from a wine cellar, and once it has been introduced, it has the potential to taint all of the wine in the cellar. There is no evidence that TCA is hazardous to people. Even at two parts per trillion (0.000000000002 kilos in a litre of wine), TCA may be seen by the human eye. It is impossible to identify if a wine has been corked just by smelling the cork. It is necessary to return the corked bottle of wine to the store where you purchased it. If you receive a corked bottle of wine, they should provide you a replacement or a refund. If they don’t, it’s probable that this isn’t a place where you should spend your money in the first place. Simply place the cork back into the bottle and return it to the store with the wine still inside. They may choose to return the wine to the distributor in order to inform them of the corked wine
  • Or


  • In the event that you come across a bottle of wine in your collection that has been corked, toss it out. This wine should not be able to infect any of your other wines.


About This Article

Summary of the ArticleXThe best way to identify whether your wine is corked is to sniff it first to check if it smells musty, like a wet dog or a piece of cardboard. When it comes to tasting your wine, go with your initial impression because it is the most dependable. Whether you can’t tell by the fragrance alone, try a sip of the wine and see if it tastes dull or astringent, with no discernible fruit flavor. If so, discard the bottle. Additionally, warming in storage or during shipping might cause your wine to taste wrong, giving it a flavor similar to nuts or candied fruits.

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A synthetic Italian wine cork with a corporate logo on it. (Image courtesy of Wikipedia.) Cork taint is most certainly the most avoidable wine quality concern in the industry, and it is also the most costly. Mother Nature may wreak havoc on vineyards with rain, frost, and heat, but a competent winemaker is able to adapt to changing weather conditions. The vines are tended throughout the year; at harvest, equipment is meticulously cleaned, and fermentation is meticulously monitored. Indeed, winemakers get hyperventilating over every detail: tasting, blending, tasting, blending, aging in thousand-dollar French oak barrels, tasting some more, and finally bottling the finished product!

  1. It is incredibly unjust that a small, seemingly harmless little ‘ol cork should be able to bring down such a true labor of affection.
  2. To have a single little cork tainted with the nasty TCA molecule (2,4,6-trichloroanisole) (yep, molecule!) signifies that a wine’s charm has been destroyed, much like topping your soufflé with an old sock has been destroyed.
  3. Not only has it been discovered that TCA may infect wine with a musty cellar odor, but it is also capable of modifying everything in the glass.
  4. It’s usually easy to tell when there’s cork taint present since it jumps out of the glass like a stinking old codger in a damp wool coat.
  5. Now that we have a better understanding of the impacts of TCA, let’s start with the obnoxious cork taint odor that we all recognize.
  6. The Loire Valley was the setting for a recent visit with two Master Sommeliers: Doug Frost, a wine consultant, and James Tidwell, co-founder of TEXSOM and beverage manager at The Four Seasons Hotel in Dallas.
  7. They were lyrically descriptive about the fragrance of cork taint, as one would expect from a sommelier of their caliber.
  8. Which raises the question of why bother with a cork in the first place.
  9. As a devoted wine collector, Gert Noel founded the firm in 1993 out of his own irritation with cork taint damaging his precious possessions, which included his own wine collection.

Dan Traucki, an Australian wine industry expert, recounts his single worst cork taint disappointment: “I had a bottle of wine that had a cork taint in it.” “A bottle of 1990 Chateau Latour that I had purchased en premieur and had carefully cellared until my son’s 21st birthday in 2011,” I explained.

  • In my 25 years in the wine industry, I’ve lost count of the number of corked bottles I’ve dumped down the sink in frustration.” After experiencing a number of such disappointments, Nol began looking for an alternate solution.
  • This, I must say, is rather stunning.
  • Even while a natural cork allows for oxygen flow, this is not done so in an accurate, constant, or regulated manner.
  • Ben Mayo, winemaker for Eberle Wines in Paso Robles, California, is a major fan of Nomacorc for two reasons: the price and the freshness of the fruit.
  • A few trials were carried out by Mayo and his colleagues, in which they compared synthetic cork to natural cork.
  • TCA may be found in a variety of places, including wine barrels and cardboard boxes.
  • The process of identifying cork taint can be time-consuming and difficult.
  • What to do if you believe your wine has been tampered with: Speak Your Mind: Don’t be afraid to express your dissatisfaction with a bottle of wine when your Sommelier asks, “How’s the wine?” It is not at all pompous to turn down a bottle (or a glass) of wine.
  • Sommeliers and winemakers have dedicated their lives to the enjoyment of wine, and it hurts them to watch a cork taint ruin an otherwise enjoyable experience.
  • If you have already drained the bottle, don’t expect a refund in that case either.
  • Sometimes it’s the stemware itself that’s the problem (if it smells like a bar rag, it may be a dishwashing issue), but either way, the wine tasting experience isn’t up to scratch.

Follow me and my contaminated cork exploits on Forbes and Facebook (by clicking on the links above) as well as on Twitter (by clicking here).

How To Tell If a Wine Is Corked

We all enjoy a good glass of wine, don’t we? We enjoy how it helps us relax after a hectic day, how it enhances a good mood, and how it can be used for anything from day drinking to evening winding down, celebrations, tiny moments, and everything in between. But do you know what may completely spoil a bottle of wine? There are many different types of defects and imperfections, one of which we’ll discuss today: corked wine. It’s something you’ve undoubtedly heard about, but you might not be aware of whether or not you’ve really come across it.

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Then what exactly is corked wine, and how does it differ from regular wine?

What Is Cork Taint?

A corked wine is one that has been tainted by cork taint, which has a unique smell and flavor and may be distinguished from other wines. Given that cork is a natural substance, the fact that it includes small microbes that prefer to eat implies that it has microorganisms whether the cork is still a part of the tree or after it has been transformed into a wine cork. It has been reported that when these fungus come into touch with cork, they produce the chemical TCA, which destroys the wine the moment it comes into contact with the cork.

What Does It Smell Like?

Never entered a gloomy, moldy cellar or smelt a wet newspaper or a rotting dog till now. The fragrance of corked wine can be described as follows: Because it’s so unpleasant to drink, cork taint is a major wine flaw, and it’s why it’s such a common problem. However, there are several varieties of corked wine. The scent of wet cardboard in a damp, moldy cellar will not be present in every bottle. If there is just a trace amount of TCA, the wine may simply be lacking in scent. Those taste profiles are quite interesting.

What Does It Taste Like?

Knowing how corked wine smells is vital, but it’s even more crucial to know how corked wine tastes! Whether you order a glass at a restaurant or a buddy pours you a glass, it’s possible that you won’t always sniff your drink before you drink it. When you drink a corked wine, the characteristically buoyant wine flavor will be replaced with something flat and lifeless. The fruity aspects of the wine will have vanished, and the wine may even have an astringent flavor. More often than not, you’ll discover that the wine just does not taste as good as it was described.

But don’t be concerned.

In any case, we hope you’ve gained some insight into how to detect if a bottle of wine has been corked.

Wines ‘Til Sold Out is the place to go if you want to enjoy some fine wines without having to worry about cork taint. We provide low-cost wine online that is nevertheless of great quality, at reasonable prices. You will never be disappointed if you purchase a bottle of wine from us!

What Exactly is a Corked Wine: And What Does Corked Wine Taste Like?

However, I would venture to assume that not as many wine lovers are aware with the phrase “corked wine,” much alone what it tastes like, how it becomes corked in the first place, or even how to recognize when a bottle of wine has been corked. Continue reading to learn more about corked wine, including how it occurs and what it tastes like. What Causes a Bottle of Wine to Become Corked Wine that has been corked does not necessarily refer to a wine that has little pieces of cork floating around in the glass.

  • Cork taint is more than just the flavor of a cork in a bottle.
  • In the presence of specific chlorides present in bleaches and other winery sanitation / sterilizing chemicals, TCA is generated when natural fungus (of which many are found in cork) come into contact with the substance.
  • If left unchecked, TCA has the potential to taint not only a single batch of corks (and wine), but also a whole cellar or winery.
  • Since the revelation (which occurred only in the early 1990s) of the root cause of cork taint, the vast majority of wineries have completely discontinued the use of chlorine-based cleaning agents.
  • Corked wines have a distinct smell and flavor of damp, soggy, wet, or rotting cardboard, respectively.
  • The apparentness of the corked smell and taste is dependent on both the amount of the taint and the level of sensitivity of the wine consumer to the smell and taste (aka your cork taste threshold).
  • For example, while I am the wine expert in our home, it is my husband who is able to detect corked wine very immediately after the cork has been removed, no matter how subtle the taint may appear to be.

The increase in popularity of screw-caps and other alternative closures can be attributed in part to the increase in the number of corked wines that have been produced.

However, it is still possible.

It is often assumed that cork is responsible for other wine defects.

(See my February post for additional information on other typical wine blunders.) Is it permissible to bring or send back a corked bottle of wine?

When you return a corked bottle, most retailers will not dispute your decision – however it is ideal if the bottle is not nearly completed!

For those unfamiliar with the art of wine tasting, you may be frightened and fail to identify the taint when the sommelier or waiter initially requests that you try the wine.

If this occurs, my recommendation is to call the waiter back and explain the situation, while also asking him or her to sample the wine.

Cork Taint: Is It Getting Worse or Better?

I open a large number of wine bottles every week, and it is now common for me to go many weeks without discovering a poisoned wine.

Avoid corked wines till next week at the very least!

Mary Gorman-McAdams is a contributor to this work. In addition to being a wine instructor and consultant, Mary Gorman-McAdams, MW (Master of Wine), is a freelance writer and writer for hire. As a result of this recognition, she was named Dame Chevalier de L’Ordre des Coteaux de Champagne in 2012.

How Do I Check for Signs That Wine Has Gone Bad in Storage?

A good cork will have a small discoloration from the wine, but a ruined wine would have a crumbling, soaked-through cork, among other symptoms. Photo courtesy of Couleur, a Pixabay Creative Commons user. Experiencing the unmistakable scents of a wine that has gone bad, which are sometimes evocative of moldy wet newspaper and acetone, is the last thing anyone wants to do when they open a bottle of excellent wine, especially when it is a bottle of great wine. However, there are situations when you may detect the telltale indicators that wine has gone bad in storage before you even open the bottle.

It may also alert you to possible storage difficulties, allowing you to rectify any issues before they cause damage to the other bottles in your collection, saving you time and money.

Here’s how to tell if a bottle of wine is rotten before you open it or after you’ve opened it.

The First Signs That Wine Has Gone Bad in Storage

Many types of wine faults exist, such as excessive sulfur or Breettanomyces yeast (Brett), but what most wine drinkers mean when they say that a wine has gone bad is that it has been corked, which usually means that the wine has been contaminated with the chemical 2,4,6-trichloroanisole (TCA), which is a fungicide (although other compounds can also cause this problem). When you smell a corked wine in a glass or take your first sip, it’s easy to tell whether it’s been corked. Corked wine, in addition to smelling like wet newspaper, has been described as smelling like wet dog or musty old books by some.

  • An uncorked wine might occasionally taste exactly like it smells, but it can also taste highly astringent if the cork is broken.
  • However, these are not the first indications that a bottle of wine has gone bad while in storage.
  • Step 1: Take a look at where the cork is located.
  • As long as it’s bulging slightly from the top of the bottle, it’s a warning that the wine has been subjected to heat damage, which means that its tastes will be less delicious and delicate than they should be.
  • While this is most usually a problem for winemakers who employ low-cost or synthetic corks, it can occur with even the most costly wines in the world on occasion.
  • In the first instance, the wine will most certainly be prematurely oxidized; too much oxygen will escape into the bottle at an inordinately rapid rate, causing the wine to age and degrade in a very short period of time.
  • With the strong closure, the wine does not receive enough air, which prevents it from gently maturing and producing new tastes as it should.
  • Examine the wine’s ullage to determine its quality.
  • When a young wine is opened, the liquid will appear to be almost touching the cork, and in general, the higher the ullage, the better the condition in which the wine will be when it is first opened.
  • Tips to Keep in Mind Before Making a Purchase Whenever you purchase wine on the secondary market, make sure to follow the two processes outlined above (or even directly from a producer).
  • In certain cases, this can prevent you from purchasing a bottle of wine that has either deteriorated early or won’t develop correctly.

The wine may still be drinkable due to a faulty cork placement, and you don’t want to waste a perfectly nice bottle of wine by making the error of throwing it out by mistake.

Trust Your Senses of Sight, Smell, and Taste

Just though the cork and ullage appear to be in good condition does not always imply that the wine is in good condition. It’s possible that the wine has a fault that is difficult to detect simply by glancing at the bottle. After you’ve opened the bottle and before you take your first taste, make sure to follow these four procedures. Step 1: Inspect the cork’s base for damage. When you take the cork out of the bottle, look at the base of the cork (the area that comes into contact with the wine); it should only be faintly discolored by the liquid.

  1. Soggy corks are ones that have not been well sealed to the bottle, enabling liquid to seep up around the edges of the cork.
  2. Keep in mind, however, that certain older bottles of wine, particularly fortified wines like port, may have naturally crumbly corks due to the aging process.
  3. It’s conceivable that the wine within is absolutely wonderful.
  4. As an example, depending on the winemaker, the vintage, and the region where the wine was produced, Cabernet Sauvignon can range in color from a vibrant crimson to an inky purple.
  5. The presence of brown coloring in both red and white wines of all kinds indicates oxidation.
  6. It is generally accepted that wine that has been in the bottle for little more than few years should not seem tawny or brown in any way, but that wine that has been in the bottle for several decades should exhibit this coloring as a positive indicator.
  7. In mixes from the Côtes du Rhône region, for example, it’s not unusual to detect a little nasty barnyard aroma.

The fungus, Brettanomyces, is responsible for the occurrence, and at low to moderate levels, it is entirely normal—even desirable—in these wines.

Another red flag is the presence of a cooked fruit aroma in a very young wine.

The Fourth Step is to Taste the Wine However, even if you make it through this stage and your wine still seems and smells normal, you aren’t out of the woods by any means.

Any wine that tastes bland, or that has a strong vinegar or chemical taste, has gone bad while it was being stored.

Other red flags are less evident and unpleasant, but they are just as dangerous and should be addressed.

Even though still wines are supposed to be devoid of carbonation, the presence of carbonation indicates that the wine has undergone a secondary fermentation in the bottle.

It’s not the most pleasant experience to take a sip of corked wine or wine that has some other major fault, but it’s doubtful that it will cause any harm. If your taste senses can handle it, you can drink wine that has gone bad in storage without risk of poisoning yourself.

What to Do With Wine That Has Gone Bad

Because wine spoilage may be caused by a variety of factors, including improper wine storage conditions such as excessive heat or moisture, some wine collectors get concerned when they discover a corked bottle in their home cellar. You shouldn’t be alarmed if you notice symptoms that your wine has gone bad while it’s been sitting in your cellar. First and foremost, be certain that your storage conditions are constant and sufficient. It is a good idea to invest in expert wine storage services in order to avoid wine spoiling that may be due to storage problems.

Some bottles contain leaking corks or have been broken during shipping.

If you’ve purchased a case of wine from the same vintage and producer and one of the bottles has soured, you should carefully inspect the other bottles to ensure that the problem is not affecting them all.

If you keep your wine properly and purchase from a reputable vendor that thoroughly inspects bottles before selling them, you will have many more opportunities to enjoy magnificent wines in the future.

Contact us right now if you want to have access to some of the world’s greatest wines.

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