Log In / Join Now

Ask Dr. Vinny

Do you have a question for Dr. Vinny? Ask it here...

Dear Dr Vinny,

If I find a bottle to be corked, should I then avoid the wine, winemaker or vintage in the future?

—Thomas K., Northbrook, Ill.

Dear Thomas,

No, probably not. When I get a wine that’s “corked” or “corky” (suffering from the musty-smelling compound known as TCA, or 2,4,6-trichloroanisole), I don’t assume anything except that I had a bad bottle.

TCA is created by an interaction of mold, chlorine and phenols (organic compounds found in all plants). The compound typically develops in individual corks themselves, which is why it happens randomly. There are some instances where TCA can be linked to cardboard cases, wooden pallets or entire batches of cork, and there have even been a few incidents where winery buildings have become contaminated with the compound. But these are rare occurrences.

—Dr. Vinny

Wine Basics

We break down the basics—how to taste, serve, store and more. Plus:
» Maps of major wine regions
» Grape variety characteristics

How-to Videos

Learn to taste wine like a pro, pull a cork with flair, get great wine service in a restaurant and more

Wine Spectator School: All courses are FREE for WineSpectator.com Members

Learn from the experts and get the most out of each sip. Take one of our online courses or take them all—from the ABCs of Tasting to in-depth seminars on Food Pairing, California Cabernet, Bordeaux, Tuscany, Sensory Evaluation and more.

Browse our course catalog
Check out the professional wine sales and service courses
Learn Wine Forum: Got questions? Get answers

WineRatings+ app: Download now for 340,000+ ratings.