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Dear Dr. Vinny,

I noticed some wine corks are longer than others. Is there a reason for this? Looking through my spent corks I notice up to half an inch variance in cork length.

—Scott R., Leawood, Kan.

Dear Scott,

You’re correct that some corks are longer than others, but their length is largely a matter of cosmetics. Longer corks are more expensive, and tend to be used for higher-end wine bottles. They are sometimes marketed as being suited to wines intended for cellaring, but I have yet to see any studies or even hear anecdotal accounts that suggest they are better-suited to aging wine than a standard cork.

I think long corks are just like oversized bottles and deep punts—packaging decisions to emphasize that you’ve purchased an expensive bottle of wine. If it helps validate the price tag, or make you feel the bottle is more impressive or special, then it’s done its job.

—Dr. Vinny

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