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.
Dear Dr. Vinny,
If I encounter a wine without a "freely spinning capsule," does that mean that the cork has been breached, or that the wine may be no good?
—Becky H., Fremont, Neb.
Some people believe firmly that if the capsule—the foil or plastic sheath that covers the cork on a bottle of wine—doesn't spin if you try to rotate it with your hand, the wine leaked and is ruined. I think that's rubbish. If a cork was compromised and there was some seepage, a capsule might not spin. But I've handled thousands of bottles of wine, and have never found any overall correlation between capsules spinning and quality. Some capsules are just attached more firmly than others to begin with. And a spinning capsule is no guarantee of quality, nor is it a guarantee of no seepage. Additionally, seepage isn't always a sign that a wine is ruined.
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