If a cork gets pushed into a wine bottle, is the wine ruined?

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Dear Dr. Vinny,

I couldn't find a corkscrew, so I pushed the cork into a wine bottle. After drinking a few glasses, I covered the bottle and refrigerated it. Is it still safe to drink if the cork has been sitting in the wine overnight?

—Catherine, Paramount, Calif.

Dear Catherine,

We've all been there! Sometimes you have to make do with what you've got (or don't got), and pushing the cork into the bottle is always an option. Your wine is fine—a floating cork isn't going to damage or taint it.

I occasionally end up with a cork in the bottle when an older cork has dried out a bit and shrunk and hardened, and the corkscrew ends up pushing it in instead of piercing it.

Just be careful when pushing a cork into the bottle, because the pressure inside the bottle increases as you push the cork in, which can sometimes cause wine to spray out. If the floating cork ends up blocking the passage out of the wine, try using a chopstick or the handle of a wooden spoon to push it aside.

If any tiny bits of cork end up floating around in your wine, those can be filtered out with a coffee filter or cheesecloth.

—Dr. Vinny

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