What Does Corked Wine Mean & How To Detect It?

If you’re interested in wine, we’re sure you would have heard of the term ‘corked’ before. It is the number one fault found in wine today. Although the term is often generalised to describe any wine with an affected or faulty condition, it actually only refers to wines which have been impacted by the specific chemical compound 2,4,6-Trichloroanisole, or TCA for short.

Mouldy, damp cardboard like aromas are a common sign that a wine is “corked”. Interestingly, people assume that if a wine has a screw cap, then it’s impossible for it to be corked, but this is actually wrong as screw capped wines can be corked too! (Although it is more common in corked bottles).

This is because the wine isn’t directly affected by a cork itself but the presence of a chemical compound called 2,4,6-Trichloroanisole, or TCA for short. TCA frequently occurs in natural cork, but may also come from the barrel the wine was in or an unhygienic winery. 

Generally, if a winesmells strongly like mould, cardboard and yeast, or tastes dull and stale then there could definitely be something wrong with it, and unfortunately, you may have to pop open another bottle instead. You can also send the wine back to where it came from and they should replace it for you if it was a recent purchase. 

On a final note, corked wines are in no way harmful to humans, just not very pleasant to taste or smell!

Discover the best practices to storing your wine, and minimise the risk of corked wine.