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

Ask Dr Vinny

Hello there! I'm Dr. Vinifera, but you can call me Vinny. Ask me your toughest wine questions, from the fine points of etiquette to the science of winemaking. And don't worry, I'm no wine snob—you can also ask me those "dumb questions" you're too embarrased to ask your wine geek friends! I hope you find my answers educational, empowering and even amusing. And don't forget to check out my most asked questions and my full archives for all my Q&A classics.

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

Ask Dr. Vinny Corks Serving Wine

More In Dr. Vinny

Is it normal for old wine to be cloudy?

Wine Spectator's expert Dr. Vinny explains where sediment comes from and strategies for …

May 27, 2020

I love screwcapped wines, but I had two stored on their sides that started leaking. Is that common?

Wine Spectator's expert Dr. Vinny explains proper storage for wines with twist-off caps.

May 25, 2020

What are wine tasters trying to communicate when they describe “texture”?

Wine Spectator's expert Dr. Vinny explains the concept of "texture" in wine, and how …

May 22, 2020

Can I grow wine grapes in Ohio?

Wine Spectator's expert Dr. Vinny offers advice and resources for anyone considering …

May 20, 2020

What’s the best way to keep an open bottle of wine at the ideal serving temp?

Wine Spectator 's expert Dr. Vinny offers some tried-and-true methods for cooling down a …

May 18, 2020

I think there's broken glass inside my wine bottle. How did that happen?

Wine Spectator's expert Dr. Vinny explains tartrate crystals, a harmless and naturally …

May 15, 2020