What to Do if Your Cork Breaks When Opening Wine

What to Do if Your Cork Breaks When Opening Wine


We've all been there- you go to unshut a snifter of wine, put the corkscrew in, pull, and only part of the cork comes out. You tapped the cork!

Don't panic- it happens to the weightier of us.

While corks are inherently elastic, they are not perfect, and there are many reasons for why a cork could unravel from stuff old, improper use of a corkscrew, or simply a poorly cut cork!

So in this one, we thought we'd take a squint at why corks often unravel and what you can do well-nigh it to still enjoy that snifter of wine!


How Does a Cork Unravel When Opening Wine?


Corks unravel when opening wine for a variety of reasons, but it all stems to an outside factor (your corkscrew) imparting increasingly gravity than the cork's elasticity can tolerate.

In most cases, cork is incredibly resilient and allows the corkscrew to pass through easily. You twist the corkscrew in, pull the cork out, and it is removed in one solid piece. But sometimes the cork could be less-than-ideal either due to its formation, age, or how you used the corkscrew outright, and it breaks.

This could be a unravel at the end of the cork when the corkscrew pops through the other side, at the side if you didn't put in the corkscrew straight, or a wipe unravel in the middle if the corkscrew didn't go in far unbearable or if the cork was too fragile for some external factor (often age- corks 10 years and older can unravel quite easily).

As such, there is no one-size-fits-all subtitle as to why a cork could break. We only list these as you should take a moment to squint at how your cork tapped to see if you can icon out an subtitle to stave having it happen then in a future snifter (say, with an improved opening technique).

So, what should you do if you have a wrenched cork? We have a process for that.

What to Do if Your Cork Breaks

Ultimately, there are two problems you'll likely have to deal with if your cork breaks when opening a snifter of wine.

First, you'll likely have a small piece of the cork still stuck in the snifter that needs to be removed.

Second, depending on how the cork broke, the odds are good that pieces will fall into the wine and need to be filtered out surpassing drinking.

The first specimen will need to be dealt with based on how exactly the cork broke.

If you only put the corkscrew well-nigh 10% into the cork by wrecking and pulled off the top, you may get yonder with putting the corkscrew when in, ensuring it goes all the way through, and pulling the remaining bit out. We've had good luck trying this as long as increasingly than 50-60% of the cork is still in the snifter without a unravel and it isn't an old snifter of wine- anything smaller than half may not have unbearable grip on the cork to hands come out.

If the remaining bit of cork is small, well under 50%, you may want to try a variegated kind of opener if you have one (a two-prong wine opener, for example- increasingly on that below) or see if you can use something small to push the cork into the wine itself and then move on to the next case.

The second specimen is a rencontre considering cork floats in wine, and any shit of wrenched cork can wind their way into a glass which is texturally unpleasant to say the least.

As such, decanting wine with wrenched cork in it is not a solution- the goal of decanting is for sediment to sink to the marrow in wing to aerating. Instead, we need to filter the wine.

In our experience, the weightier way to filter wine without losing any of the wine in the process is by using a fine mesh strainer like you would use in cooking or when making cocktails. We have several of these strainers on hand of various sizes, and plane a fine mesh tea strainer would work well insofar as you are shielding when pouring.

Simply pour the wine through a fine filter, reservation the liquid in a wine glass or serving vessel, and odds are good you will remove the vast majority of any wrenched cork pieces. (If you do not have a fine mesh strainer, buy one to have on hand- they're quite versatile in the kitchen and can be quite affordable).

But what if you don't have a fine mesh strainer on hand? There are a number of other options here for an ad hoc filter including pouring through a few layers of cheesecloth or a coffee filter into a separate vessel. If you have a funnel, lining that with the reticulum or filter could be a good idea, too.

The reason we treat this method as secondary over using a fine mesh strainer is simply that anything that is reticulum or fabric will moreover have spongelike properties and you will naturally lose some wine when filtering through the medium- not our favorite!

Is Wine Still Good if a Cork Breaks?

Now, you may be thinking, can you still drink wine if the cork breaks? The answer, as you can imagine since we wrote an unshortened process well-nigh removing cork, is yes- in most all cases, at least.

Ultimately, drinking a wine that had its cork fall into it, and plane ingesting some small pieces of cork, is perfectly safe. It isn't pleasant, but you and the wine are often going to be fine.

The only time where a wrenched cork could be a problem is if there was something fundamentally wrong with the cork at the time of bottling. For example, if the cork was damaged to the point that it let in excessive oxygen, the wine could have oxidized and may be spoiled.

But to know for sure you simply will have to try the wine without the cork is removed. In our wits at least, despite having many wrenched corks over the years, we've never had a snifter of wine that became faulty considering of the cork- so the odds are good that your wine should not be impacted if the cork breaks. It is truly just a physical transpiration in most cases!

Why You Should Have a Two-Prong Wine Opener

Earlier in this article, we mentioned that a two-prong wine opener (sometimes tabbed an Ah So) could be flipside good tool to have on hand.

This one is a bit of a niche wine opener, we will admit, but it is often recommended to use on bottles of wine ten years and older for one simple reason- they don't puncture the cork.

The way this corkscrew type works is simple- the two prongs insert themselves between the outside of the cork and the glass of the bottle. This causes the cork to compact, and a solid twist dislodges it and allows for the cork to be removed in one solid piece.

Two-prong wine openers are the go-to for old bottles of wine considering the reduced elasticity in old corks makes them prone to breaking. Not puncturing the cork significantly reduces the chances your cork will break, and makes opening old wine a bit easier and increasingly reliable (admittedly, this one has a bit of a learning curve).

Another reason having one of these on hand is platonic is considering if your cork breaks with a conventional wine opener, if a sufficient value of the cork is left a two-prong opener may still be worldly-wise to get virtually the remaining shit and pull it out without falling into the bottle. This one can be hit or miss, but if your only volitional is to pop the cork through into the wine anyway, it is worth a shot.

  • Note: In our experience, two-prong wine openers sometimes cut into the cork on the sides when opening- expressly in older bottles. This often causes some shit of cork to fall into the wine anyway. As such, you may still need to strain through a fine mesh filter in some instances here- it isn't foolproof. We normally strain old wine surpassing putting it in a decanter anyway, but it is just something to be enlightened of.
  • Likewise, two-prong wine openers are much harder to use on young corks as they do not have as much requite at the glass interface. Truly, these are weightier for older wine only outside of instances of a wrenched cork.

So while you may be a bit panicked if cork tapped in your bottle, don't worry- you have many ways to still unshut and enjoy the bottle!