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,

Is it safe to drink wine from a “cooked” bottle where the cork has popped up a bit?

—Amanda, Texas

Dear Amanda,

Safe? Yes. Desirable? Probably not.

If a bottle has been exposed to excessive heat, the wine inside could start to expand, which can push the cork up, and there might also be sticky signs on the neck that wine has leaked out. This doesn’t always mean that the wine is ruined. But if the temperature has affected the wine enough, it could be “cooked,” which means the flavors will taste cooked, as if they were stewed, baked or canned. Not only will the wine’s freshness be compromised, but its color might start to look a little browner. It’s not unsafe, as you ask—it will not make you sick. But cooked wines are usually unappetizing and disappointing.

—Dr. Vinny


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