ask dr. vinny

Hello there! I'm Dr. Vinifera, or "Vinny" for short. Ask me your toughest wine questions, from the technical aspects of winemaking to the fine points of etiquette. I hope you find my answers educational and even amusing. Looking for a particular answer? Check my archive and my FAQs. You can also follow me on Twitter: @AskDrVinny.


Dear Dr. Vinny,

Last night I opened a bottle of wine and found there were little mildew dots on the top of the cork. The seller said it wouldn’t have any impact on the quality of wine. Please advise if his saying is correct and the wine is still drinkable.

—David W., China

Dear David,

A little mold or mildew on the top of a cork isn’t unusual. It could have been caused by humid cellar conditions, or by a drop of wine left on the cork before the capsule was put in place. I’ve noticed it especially on older bottles of wine, and for the most part, it’s just on the surface or top section of the cork. If the wine smells strange before you taste it, by all means avoid it. But for all the many corks I’ve seen with a bit of mold, none of the wines have ever been ruined by it.

—Dr. Vinny


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