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If there’s cork in my glass, should I send the wine back?

The Question

A restaurant served me wine with pieces of cork in the glass. Should I have sent it back?

The Answer

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It depends on your tolerance. I'm the sort who would ask for a spoon to remove the pieces myself.

Small cork particles won't cause harm or yield an off taste, though I'm not a fan of stray bark in my beverage. This is not a case of "corked" wine, by the way, which refers to an odorous taint produced by mould that has combined with chlorine during the cork-production process. Mere cork particles, on the other hand, are purely a physical and aesthetic nuisance.

It's common for dried-out corks to leave behind a few stray remnants when the bottle's opened without sufficient care. They float, so it's easy to scoop them out with a spoon. No big deal.

Most fine restaurants, when politely alerted to the unsightly problem, will replace your glass (assuming you've ordered by the glass). If you've ordered a whole bottle, they may remove the particles (by slowly pouring them into a glass and using the spoon technique) or replace the bottle with a fresh one.

E-mail your wine and spirits questions to Beppi Crosariol. Look for answers to select questions to appear in the Wine & Spirits newsletter and on The Globe and Mail website.

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About the Author
Life columnist

Beppi Crosariol writes about wine and spirits in the Globe Life and Style sections.He has been The Globe's wine and spirits columnist for more than 10 years. In the late 1990s, he also wrote a food trends column called The Biting Edge.Beppi used to cover business law for ROB and previously edited the paper's weekly technology section. More

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