Cork – ‘taint good enough

Posted by Martin Field on 1 May 2005 in Wine

Just recently I bought a dozen bottles of a wine I reviewed for an online newsletter. Since then two of the bottles I’ve opened have shown cork taint; the corks are those agglomerate ones with a disc of solid cork stuck on each end. I contacted the wine distributor about the problem – he said he’d send me two replacement bottles (still waiting) and I emailed the winemaker to alert him to the problem – no reply.

Now I’m wondering if the remainder of the dozen will be sound and whether the bottles I sold to a mate to try will be in good condition. It’s a mildly depressing prospect.


Should I mention the label? Not at the moment – maybe I was just unlucky and bought a bad batch. If more of them turn out to be duds I’ll revisit the issue. (Has anybody out there encountered similar problems?)

But what’s going on? With all the controversy regarding cork taint over recent years and promises of improved quality control from the cork industry, winemakers are still selling cork-tainted wine. No wonder there is a ground-swell of consumer acceptance for screw-capped bottles.

As I’ve pointed out previously, if one or two eggs out of every dozen sold exhibited tainted smells or tastes there’d be a public outcry, but mug punter wine consumers seemingly have to sit back and accept it. And what do food standard authorities do about tainted wine? Stuff all.

Meanwhile we still get media stories – like this one on the ABC Science Show, hinting none too subtly that if we don’t keep buying bottles with corks we’re somehow going to contribute to the extinction of exotic species that live in cork forests!

I spit on tainted corks and moral blackmail!

2 Comments on “Cork – ‘taint good enough”

  1. Mike Tommasi says:

    Martin, here in Europe the inpression isthat more and more botles are tainted, and yet the winemakers are very shy to move to capsules or screw-top.

    This is indeed scandalous, especially because even here in southern France a bottle of wine cosgts more than an egg… ;-)

    Unfortunately, most people cannot recognize cork taint, and so the problem is seen as “us wine geeks being picky”.

    I will shed no tears at the end of this great cork fraud, and I dont believe a word about cork forests preserving the lynx. Sound like brilliant PR from the industry…

  2. Mike Tommasi says:

    Martin, here in Europe the inpression isthat more and more botles are tainted, and yet the winemakers are very shy to move to capsules or screw-top.

    This is indeed scandalous, especially because even here in southern France a bottle of wine cosgts more than an egg… ;-)

    Unfortunately, most people cannot recognize cork taint, and so the problem is seen as “us wine geeks being picky”.

    I will shed no tears at the end of this great cork fraud, and I dont believe a word about cork forests preserving the lynx. Sound like brilliant PR from the industry…

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.