Log In / Join Now

Ask Dr. Vinny

Do you have a question for Dr. Vinny? Ask it here...

Dear Dr. Vinny,

My wine bottles in my wine cellar have begun to exhibit loose corks. That is, when I attempt to put a corkscrew in the cork, it actually gets pushed into the bottle because it is not as snug as would be expected. This is a recent phenomenon in my wine cellar and has been happening to all of the wines I have recently opened, without regard to vineyard or age of the bottle. Do you know what may be causing this situation?

—Richard R., Potomac Falls, Va.

Dear Richard,

I have a couple of theories. The first is about the condition of your cellar. If there’s not enough humidity, corks can dry out and shrink. For about $40, you can buy a hygrometer that will measure the humidity, which ideally should be at about 70 percent.

But I’ve generally seen this happen only to older bottles of wine. So my other theory is that there may be something wrong with whatever you’re using to open your bottles. If the worm—the spiral part of your corkscrew—is too dull or too thick, it won’t be able to pierce through the cork effectively, and instead any pressure that’s applied to it will just push the cork further into the bottle.

—Dr. Vinny

Wine Basics

We break down the basics—how to taste, serve, store and more. Plus:
» Maps of major wine regions
» Grape variety characteristics

How-to Videos

Learn to taste wine like a pro, pull a cork with flair, get great wine service in a restaurant and more

Wine Spectator School: All courses are FREE for WineSpectator.com Members

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.

Browse our course catalog
Check out the professional wine sales and service courses
Learn Wine Forum: Got questions? Get answers

WineRatings+ app: Download now for 340,000+ ratings.