What Does it Mean When a Wine is Corked?


A corked wine is a wine that has been bottled with a cork that is contaminated with TCA (2,4,5-trichloroanisole).  TCA contamination usually comes from corks but can also come from barrels, other cooperage or even apparently from wood within the cellar including walls or beams. The term “corked wine” is applied to all wines with TCA contamination because corks are the course of most of the problems.  The wine industry estimates that as many as 3% to 7% of all wines have TCA contamination at levels that can be detected by consumers.  The tiniest amount of contamination can ruin a wine.

Most people are aware of the TCA in quantities as small as 5 parts per trillion, some individuals are even more sensitive.  When TCA is present, it comes across as “musty” aromas and flavors.  TCA does not pose a health risk; it just imparts the aromas and flavors when found in sufficient quantities.  TCA isn’t only found in wine, you can find it in municipal water supplies as well as in some teas.  If you get a corked wine, you should return it to the store from which it was purchased.

Most companies, like Messina Hof will stand behind their wines and will work to ensure customer satisfaction.  Make sure to always check your wine before passing it around the table!