Wine Academy part 8: What is a wine with cork taint?


Jeroen van Mierlo teaches wine courses, in which he explains people the basics about wine. In this biweekly column ‘Wine Academy’ he answers the most asked questions about wine. In part 8 of the Wine Academy Jeroen answers the question “What is a wine with cork taint?”. We already introduced this topic in an earlier article on wine fault, but this one is interesting enough for some extra background information.

What is wine with cork taint?

Cork taint is a wine fault. This means that the wine is no longer good. It is unfortunately something that cannot be fixed, the only solution is to pour the wine straight through the sink. Cork taint is officially a bacteria called trichlorroanisole, which is often caused by nature cork. It’s a bacteria that can develop in the bottle or in the barrel. It can have different causes, such as molds, yeast or other substances that react to the present chlorine. Chlorine is used to treat the cork before it goes on a bottle.

How to recognize wine with cork taint?

A wine with cork taint will often smell a bit stale. The present fruit aromas in the wine will get lost or at least fade away.  When you taste the wine this staleness will hit you even harder. The wine will not taste or smell nice at all.

Can cork taint only occur on bottles with cork?

So in case you thought so: no, cork taint has nothing to do with the age of the wine. This fault can also happen with newer wines and even in bottles with a screw top. This is because the bacteria can also be present in the wood of the wooden wine box or the pallets that they are transferred on. This means the wine is already ‘infected’ when it goes into the bottle.

Cork taint is a wine fault

Cork taint really is a wine fault and it is something completely different from a wine with pieces of cork in it. If you find bits of cork in your wine this is most likely due to wrongly opening the bottle. This should not influence the taste of the wine, cork taint will. If you want to open your wine without ruining the cork, check out our wide range of openers.