How to tell if Wine is Corked?

How to tell if Wine is Corked?

By Lynne Colye, Master of Wine | O'Briens Wine Director

Ever wanted to know how to tell if Your Wine is Corked? O'Briens Wine Director, Lynne Coyle, Master of Wine, shows us how to do exactly that!

Corked Wine Myths

A common misconception that corked wine means that there is cork floating in your wine when poured into your glass... this is not the case as Lynne details. When a cork has crumbled in your wine glass this is usually due to the use of a bad quality corkscrew when opening the wine or alternatively that your cork has dried out.



What is Corked Wine 

Cork is a complicated subject for those who love wine, a

cork is product used when packaging wine. Cork's are usually created from oak tree's in Portugal and transformed into a cork for our wine bottles. There are now two types of cork's that wineries use to bottle their wines ;


- Natural corks

- Technical corks


Natural corks can be spotted due to their various bumps and lumps is design. Natural corks are design in a way that there are not any even distrubution of texture. Technical corks can be spotted due to their completely even texture throughout (which protect the wine the same way a bottle cap can).  

What Can Cause A Dried out Cork

A dried out cork can be a result of a wine not being stored on it's side. However, for the cork to dry out as a result of storage would mean that the wine was left this way for an extended period of time and not a few days! Crumbling corks are most commonly connected with older wines which an be avoided with the use of specefic cork screws designed for older wines.

How to avoid corked wine ?

When looking out for wine that has potential to be corked or may be at a lower quality that it was produced at there are certain things to keep an eye out for.The most important element to check for is if the aromas within the wine carry a musty scent or if there is a vegatale scent on the nose of the wine.In the case that one or both scents are present this tends to carry over to the taste of the wine.


If your wine is presenting this way take it back to the shop and ask for the wine to be changed. Sometimes it happens that you may not enjoy that style of wine but at O'Briens , we would still offer to change the wine.


Alternatives to Corked Wines

There is an ever increasing amount of top quality wineries have began to transition to using bottle cap bottles for their wines. This is simply due to the fact that cork's are a seperate product used to package the and they have the ability to spoil. If a cork spoils this can have a knock on affect and also spoil the wine.


An extra benefit to opting to select a screw cap wine is that they are they are easily kept and stored for later.


Lynne Coyle MW is O’Briens Wine Director and sources and selects our wine and Champagne range. One of only 420 Masters of Wine worldwide, she has dedicated her career to the food and drinks industry. Lynne also writes, judges at international wine competitions, is a Wine & Spirit Education Trust Certified Educator and makes her own wines in Spain.