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

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,

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

Collecting Storage How to Taste Tasting Descriptors Ask Dr. Vinny

More In Dr. Vinny

How many gallons of wine are in a ton of grapes?

Wine Spectator's expert Dr. Vinny explains how many barrels, gallons, cases and bottles of …

Apr 12, 2021

Does wine age the same under synthetic and natural corks?

Wine Spectator's expert Dr. Vinny explains the pros and cons of a variety of wine closures, …

Apr 5, 2021

Does Champagne age well?

Wine Spectator's expert Dr. Vinny explains what happens to sparkling wine as it ages.

Mar 29, 2021

Is there a word for sparkling wine that starts with the letter “P”?

Wine Spectator's expert Dr. Vinny's bubbly crossword puzzle suggestions include pétillant, …

Mar 22, 2021

Is there another name for “red Burgundy”?

Wine Spectator's expert Dr. Vinny explains the Pinot Noir grape's relationship with …

Mar 15, 2021

Should red wines be stored at a different temperature than white wines?

Wine Spectator's expert Dr. Vinny offers tips for how to take advantage of a dual-zone wine …

Mar 8, 2021