Thursday, January 12, 2006

Cork Mold - What to do? (billy)

The fascinating thing about the wine I had this evening is that, upon cutting away the foil bottle topper to reveal the cork, I was greeted with a fuzzy green-gray surprise on top of the cork. That's right, there was mold on the cork.

Honestly I did not know what to do. I've not seen this before though it's not all that uncommon. I knew that, if the cork was dessicated by the mold or if the mold made it through to the wine, it would probably be "corked" and warranting a return. But before leaping to conclusions I did some research.

The consensus was that there was no way to tell if the wine was bad without tasting it. I wiped and scraped off the mold and proceeded to uncork the bottle. The cork stayed (did not turn as I applied the screw) which was a good sign. I slowly pulled the cork up and studied the cork's nooks and crannies. Near the top there was indeed some nested mold. However, at about 1/3rd of the way down the mold stopped. I sniffed the bottle and was greeted by a nice bouquet and none of the "corked wine" stink that would warn me off.

I poured, swirled, sniffed - still nothing untoward. Taste. Fantastic!

I spared myself a trip to the wine shop tomorrow to return an otherwise fine bottle and did not have to forego the wine I wanted to taste tonight.

To be sure, caution was warranted. Had the cork displayed mold all the way down, I would have returned the bottle for an exchange. Had the wine poured cloudy or smelled musty and stinky, it would have been returned. But as it is, this is a nice treat.

Raise a Glass!

18 comments:

busy joe park said...

Wow, I've never seen that before. Thanks for sharing your experience! It will be useful to know how to inspect a moldy cork if I ever come across one.

Joe

Kristina said...

Thanks for the info. I just came across this for the first time when opening a fresh bottle of Reisling and had no idea what to do. Researching this on google led me to your site. Thanks for tip. PS. We have great taste - check out my website www.cookingwithkristina.com

JRM said...

The info was helpful - I had never come across this before in my life until now. After sipping the wine, it tasted as if it was ok to drink, but I could not tell if the mold had seeped into the wine or not. The question I have now is whether it can be harmful in any way.

Anonymous said...

We had the same experience tonight. I have a 30x hand held microscope and we all examined the mold. It looked like there were tiny worms squirming in it.
We uncorked it and wiped off the top of the bottle, cleaned off several tartrate crystals from the bottom of the cork and had a fantastic glass of reisling!

Andrea R said...

I found the same thing. Is it harmful to drink? How can you be sure that there is no contamination?

Anonymous said...

same thing tonight.. 2003 Domaine du Vieux Chene table wine. Removed the top foil, saw the mold. As the corkscrew went in, I saw the cork breaking apart -- pulled out about 4/5 of the cork. Pulled the rest out in a separate pull. Bad sign, I supposed. Smelled OK, poured it and tasted it --- here is where it gets subjective. It did not smell foul, or musky, but it tasted odd, not what I expected from this wine, coated my tongue, and almost blocked the wine taste. Seemed like it was wine mixed with water or something. Not sure how much of it was my mind playing tricks on me and trying to convince me not to drink this thing that had hair on its cork :-). Being a conservative type when it comes to things like this, I decided to skip this bottle and open something else.

Anyone knows if there really is any risk in drinking this?

angie said...

I had this happen last night. However, I wasn't as fortunate as some of you. The cork began to crumble as I opened it, and I'm still not able to get the cork out. I was thoroughly dissapointed as I really wanted a glass of wine last night!

Angie said...

I have just opened a bottle of Champagne and found mould on the inside of the cork! The wine tastes okay, as champagne goes, but l would like to know how mould can form on the inside of an otherwise sound,firm cork?

Mika said...

thanks for this. I have a whole case of wine i bought from a vinyard a few hours away, and after a few years in the wine rack, mould appeared. I worried i would have to toss the whole batch out, but i'm looking forward to seeing if the mould has only kissed the surface. thanks again!!

David said...

Thanks for the confidence to open & try a '05 white burgundy w similar issues. taste & smell are the best tests, and this one seems fine. (though not quite as good as I'd hoped).

Anonymous said...

Would it have been dangerous to drink the wine if the cork was indeed moldy all the way through, or if the wine had been cloudy?

PB said...

Cork mold is nothing to worry about and nothing should dissuade you from tasting the wine. If it is bad you will know it; hopefully. Ingestion of a little mold--something you do more often than you realize will not cause any issues. A cloudy wine on the other hand may be unfiltered and was stirred up in handling OR it could be some kind contamination. That should be obvious on smelling the wine. Obviously if it smells bad, don't drink it and by the way--remember--take a bad wine back where you bought it from. They should replace it or refund your money!

enjoi said...

This happen to me tonight as well. I was opening a 2003 bordeaux and was greeted by a nice fuzzy cork.
The wine drinks very well. It was an interesting surprise but all is well. Cheers!

Anonymous said...

I opened a bottle of 2009 white .... not my favorite though I like to drink, a mild Forestville Reisling. This mold, or what ever type of fungus, was on the inside of the cork. That first pisses me off because of the price of this white nothing wine, second because I didn't know what kind,strain,of fungus this is and If I did know I could research the viabiity and toxicity of what ever it is. I'm a ICU RN and excelled at the microbiology, but can any form of active/spore form of any fungus be good or ok the take via the GI tract be good and not bad for you? I think we concerned people sould stay on top of this and report it to the appropriate agents as needed. I've seen a 500+ Bed hospital close due to mold in the windows, for two months. Anyway any Docs? or microbiologist, reading this? because your imput is much needed, thanks.

PB said...

You cab relax re: cork mold. I have been studying wine for over 35 years and am widely read on all aspects of wine. I have never come across anything concerning any danger in the types of molds that can from on wine works etc. I will also say I have had many home made wines which can be really scary microbilogically speaking and never have had a problem except for a bad taste! And I assure you if you get a wine that really is tainted, you will taste it and thus you will not drink anymore of it. And as for the wine you referenced, you should always be able to take a wine back and the shop should refund your money or give another bottle of the same.

Anonymous said...

I had this happen for the first time tonight and wondered if this was a bad sign. I have been reading however that is it a good sign if the mold does not go all the way down. it means the cork has not dried out and has been aged well and in the right conditions. I am thrilled and look forward to sipping a beautiful Malbec.

Anonymous said...

I just opened one of my many saved (wine storage cooler) bottles of 1999 Riesling Spatlese from H. Otto Stolben in Briedel Germany, near where I used to live. Fuzz under the foil. First bottle the cork crumbled, I never even got it out and will toss it. Second bottle cork was firm under the fuzz - came out fine, cleaned the bottle, and the heavenly aroma wafted up to greet me. I love this stuff, so clearly no problems on this one despite the fuzz.

PB said...

Just because the cork crumbled into the bottle doesn't necessarily mean the wine was not potable or more important, palatable. In such an instance, I would have poured some of the wine and tasted it. If it was drinkable and the cork particles were annoying the wine could have been poured through a coffee filter! Always try the wine is my motto. Even if it is tainted, a "taste" isn't going to kill you or even make you sick. And if it is bad, you will have learned some more aromas and tastes to file in your memory banks for future reference!