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,
What is a cork made out of? Is it wood?
—Jon B., Beaumont, Texas
Kind of. Cork is made from the bark of a tree, Quercus suber, or the cork oak. These trees can grow pretty big, and they have really thick, rugged bark. One plus side to cork cultivation is that you don’t have to chop down a tree to make corks—you can harvest the bark without harming the tree, and then do it again in about another 10 years.
Cork is a pretty remarkable material—it’s elastic, strong and relatively impermeable to air. But there are some downsides to cork, too, including its susceptibility to the chemical compound TCA, or 2,4,6-trichloroanisole, and its musty, “corky” notes.
Do you have a question for Dr. Vinny? Ask it here...
Learn to taste wine like a pro, pull a cork with flair, get great wine service in a restaurant and more
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.
Sips & Tips | Wine & Healthy Living
Video Theater | Collecting & Auctions