To truly understand what it means if a wine is corked, you need to know how it happens, what it means, and how you can detect it. Based on the name, people think that a wine “being corked” means that there are pieces of cork floating around in the wine but in reality, it is not. A wine becomes corked when it is contaminated with a cork taint, caused by the chemical TCA. This chemical is formed when natural fungi, that are found inside the corks, come in contact with cleaning products that contain chlorides. TCA can contaminate a single bottle, entire case, or an entire winery. Since the discovery is so new, there is no way to undo a wine that is corked. The best solution wineries have had is to stop the use of cleaning products with chloride, or have switched to a screw-off cap. Drinking corked wine is in no way harmful to humans, but it can be unpleasant to taste or smell. Oftentimes it smells like wet, damp, or rotten cardboard because it dulls the taste of fruit in the wine. If it ever happens to you, or you are unsure, ask your table or staff at the restaurant or bar to help determine if it is corked. For some people, it is extremely obvious that it is corked, whereas others cannot tell the difference. Just like how people taste different accents in wine, the same goes for telling if a wine is corked, everyone has a different palette and unique taste sensitivities. If you ever want to learn more fun wine facts and expand your wine lingo, come visit us here at Mary Kate’s Wine Bar!