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06 May 2020
Posted by Wade

Wine made easy while home – Part 4

Let’s maximize the moments you get to enjoy wine by making them as easy and stress-free as possible. That’s why we’ve created this short series of tips: to make sure you’re getting the most out of your wine drinking while stuck at home…

In our last post, we talked about opening wine well, but after you’ve done that, what if the wine itself has gone bad? In this edition, let’s talk about corked wine – how you can tell and what you can do with it anyway…


It’s been another long day and wine o’clock has mercifully struck. You lovingly open the bottle (thanks to the tips you picked up in our last mail), then sniff, sip, swallow.

But instead of being greeted by luscious notes of fruit and minerals, you’re struck by a musty, mushroomy aroma that’s far more reminiscent of damp, soggy cardboard or a wet dog than anything else.

Alas: you’ve been corked. Or rather, your wine has.

What exactly is corked wine?

A corked wine doesn’t mean a wine has tiny particles of cork floating around in it. It means the wine has become tainted by a chemical compound called TCA. Called cork taint, it happens when some of the natural fungi residing in the cork comes in contact with certain chlorides found in bleaches and other winery sterilization products. Fortunately, as more knowledge about how and why cork tain occurs, the numbers of corked wines are definitely on the decrease. Of course, the increase in wines with screw caps and synthetic corks has also brought down the incidence of corked wines, as these closures can never lead to corked wines.

Can I still drink it?

You’re really desperate aren’t you? While drinking corked wine isn’t harmful to your health, it does ruin the experience. You’re welcome to return it (if it comes from Wade Bales, we’ll send you another no questions asked), but here are a few other creative ways you could redeem the situation:

Make sangria or mulled wine. Depending on the weather, you can chill it down or heat it up. To make sangria, throw whatever fruits or juices you have in the house into the wine, add some ice, and you’re good to go. If it’s colder, throw in some spices, a little sugar, heat it up then drink it down.

Cook with it. Make a stew and splash in some wine. Or simmer with some pears then serve with fresh mascarpone. Yum!

Compost it. Sacrilege, I know, but (really devout) gardeners swear by it, and also by mixing it with equal parts water and spraying it on the soil.

Until next time, may your days be calm and your wine not be corked.