THE POUR

Everything You Need to Know About Wine Corks

Posted by Beau Farrell on Mar 20, 2015 11:55:00 AM

Put A Cork In It AdobeStock_67871273.jpeg

Let’s face it, sometimes you just want one glass of wine, or maybe two. Go ahead, uncork and don’t worry. 
There are great options for saving your favorite bottle from oxidation. We’ll get to that in a moment. That cork you are about to lovingly unscrew has a long history, dating back as far as the ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Romans who used it to store oils and wines. But it was in the 1600s with Dom Pérignon himself - of champagne fame - who is often credited for adopting cork stoppers, catapulting their popularity as essential for wine bottling.

What makes a cork a cork?

Cork comes from the Cork Oak, or Quercus suber L. tree, which is grown mostly in Portugal and Spain, though Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Italy and France are also known for harvesting cork. It’s estimated they cover more than 6 million acres!

Cork is sustainable and environmentally friendly, since the trees themselves are not harvested. Only the bark is removed to obtain the cork, while the tree continues to grow and thrive. The cork is stripped from the tree trunk approximately every nine years, after the trees, which can live for about 300 years, reach around 25 years of age.

While cork is used in a myriad of ways – from flooring to shoes – it’s the wine bottle that we most associate with cork. Natural cork closures are used in 60-percent of all wine-stoppers today – and are believed to be best suited for wine bottling because they allow oxygen to interact with wine.

Wine Storing 

VacuVin-1So, back to that bottle of wine you just aren’t going to finish tonight.A general rule of thumb is that a bottle of opened red wine has a shelf life of up to a week (if closed properly), while an opened white wine remains drinkable for about three days. It’s all about the rate of oxidation.

Just putting the cork back in the bottle will allow anywhere from 12 to 24 hours before the wine starts to turn. Red wines will last a little longer, white wines will last a little less. So don’t throw the cork away, put it back in the bottle.

If you need more time to finish that bottle, we have the product for you. There’s a whole industry dedicated to products and devices to seal your wine bottle until you’re ready for your next glass. One product in particular that we love is the inexpensive, simple, VacuVin. This nifty device removes the air (and Oxygen) from your bottle and will allow you to keep it on hand for up to a week or more.  The pump is only $8.49 and comes with one stopper. You can purchase an addition two stoppers for only $4.49 at any metro area Haskell’s store. This is a must have gadget for any wine lover.

Of course, one way to remedy that problem is simply invite over a friend to share that special bottle.

Bonus Corkage News

Creative repurposing gives old corks new uses with these fun ideas: 

Wine Sale Catalog

Founded in 1934, Haskell’s has championed fine wines for over 80 years. We have 13 wine stores in Minnesota, two delis and one restaurant. As one of the top wine shops in North America, Haskell’s is known for legendary service and one of the finest collections of wine, beer and spirits. Led by Chairman and CEO Jack Farrell, and the Farrell family, Haskell’s continues to be at the forefront of the wine scene throughout the world. Haskell’s also can ship wine, beer & spirits all throughout the world, the U.S. and we deliver locally.

Topics: Behind the Wine