What Is “Corked”?

I must confess complete ignorance on this one.  Much like people confused the Spanish word “embarazada” with “embarrassed” when it really means “pregnant’, corked just seems like a simple word and you don’t ask it’s meaning.  While visiting the Chehalem Wine Tasting Room in Newberg Sunday I noticed the screwcap on one of the bottles.  For some reason this was the first time I actually brought it up with anyone.

I learned that “corked” is not when the cork dries out from improper storage or when you make a mess of uncorking the wine and get cork bits dropped in to the wine. It is actually a chemical called TCA.

From FoodAndWine.com

It might be useful to explain what TCA is. It is 2,4,6- trichloroanisole, a chemical substance that makes winemakers grit their teeth and mutter expletives, because it is responsible for what’s known as “cork taint.” Cork taint is a big problem for anyone who makes or drinks wine. Whether the wine is a $200 Bordeaux or a $5 Shiraz, that 25-cent cork stuck in the neck of the bottle can, if contaminated with TCA, render it worthless.

There are two huge problems with Corked Wine.  One is that according to most reports it destroys 7-10% of the bottled wine.  Second is that there are different stages of the taint much like food spoiling.   If it has just started and you haven’t tried the wine before you will just think that you don’t like that year of wine instead of knowing that it was a spoiled product and tasted the real thing.

So to battle loss of wine and having buyers tasting the wrong flavors many wineries have gone to the screwcap. Click here to learn about the process Chehalem went through before deciding on screwcaps for their upcoming wines.

This makes the site Corkd.com seem a little different after learning what corked really means but it is a great site.  With Memorial Weekend coming up here are some tips on how to have a good time while wine tasting.

1 Comment

  • Didn't realize that trichloroanisole had anything to do with a cork'd bottle of vino. I thought it happened when the bottle was improperly stored. Thanks for the schooling on that one.

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