Corked Wine: What It Means & How To Detect It

Wines, especially old wines, need to be handled with care. This is because slight damages or the mis-handling of a wine can affect its condition and sometimes make it faulty...

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 to name a few. 

So remember, mouldy, damp cardboard or wet newspaper like aromas are probably a sign that your wine is corked. 

Generally, if a wine smells 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 may replace it for you. 

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