Stop! Don’t Pour That Wine Down the Drain. Here’s How to Get Rid of Cork Taint.

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Tell me if you’ve had this problem. You buy a special bottle of wine – maybe you even spend a little bit more than you normally would – but when you get it home, it’s terrible. It smells like old gym socks, and the taste— ugh, let’s not even talk about the taste. It’s called “cork taint,” and it’s tragic. What’s a disappointed wine drinker to do except pour the bottle down the drain and grab some water instead? Well, how about trying this solution from the Los Angeles Times that promises to restore the wine to its intended glory? It works, it’s easier than you think, and it involves an unexpected tool: Saran Wrap!

Yes, Saran Wrap, or any other polyethylene plastic wrap. Here’s what you do:

The Method

  1. Ball up some of the plastic wrap and place it in the bottom of pitcher.
  2. Pour the wine into the pitcher over the plastic wrap.
  3. Swirl the wine around the pitcher for 5 to 10 minutes, making sure that all of the wine is exposed to the plastic wrap. The more tainted the wine tastes, the longer it needs to be exposed to the plastic wrap.
  4. Repeat steps 1 to 3 for especially stubborn cases.
  5. Do a small taste test. If the taint is gone, decant the wine and enjoy! Be sure to throw that plastic wrap away.

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Why It Works

Cork taint occurs because of a mold that can be found in the porous material of corks. This mold reacts with the chlorine-based cleaning compounds used to decontaminate most corks, which then produces a lot of trichloranisole, or TCA. TCA is what gives the wine that terrible, old-gym-sock smell and taste. The polyethylene present in most plastic wraps absorbs TCA the same way a sponge absorbs water, making plastic wrap the perfect solution to soak up the offending substances and save our wine!

Genius! Now THIS kind of chemistry I enjoy. Have you ever run into “cork taint” before? What did you do? Do you think you’ll give this method a try?