Mysterious case of the yellowed corks (SOLVED)

From the department of “keeping the world safe for Italian wine”…

Yesterday, Fabien Jacob, a good friend and one of the top wine professionals in San Antonio, sent me the following message via the Facebook.

“I need your help,” he wrote. “Have you ever encounter corks that are glazed and turned yellow at the bottom of it? This is happening with a wine from Abruzzo, the wine itself is not bad or faulty but the cork is very fragile and became glazed and yellow. Any help would be appreciated. Thank you.”

Nonplussed by the mysterious case of the yellowed corks, I asked Fabien to send me a photo (click the image above to enlarge) and then reached out to Giovanni, who swiftly answered (and I have translated here):

    It’s a silicon film that is applied to the top of the closures in order to stop the wine from coming into direct contact with the cork. It helps to ensure that the wine isn’t affected by cork taint.

    It has been applied to both the top and the bottom of the cork. In this case, it has yellowed because the bottle contains [wine made from] Montepulciano [grapes] or similar, a grape variety that that has a strong tendency to tinge. The film has been applied to the top as well but it’s still transparent.

Tonight I’m giving a seminar on social media and wine for the San Diego association of women wine professionals. I can’t think of a better example of how social media makes the wine world a better place.

Grazie, Giovanni! Evviva il bromance!

7 thoughts on “Mysterious case of the yellowed corks (SOLVED)

  1. Thank you Jeremy. I was informed about this kind of closure but had no idea that the film could turn into yellow. Maybe this is not so good to see for a consumer.

  2. But why use a cork at all then? If the the winemaker doesn’t want his wine to come i to contact with the cork, and also assuming the double sided silicone treatment is cutting off the only benefit of cork (micro oxygenation) as well, why use it? Why not a straight silicone closure?

  3. Ideed, it is an Australian patent called “Procork”, a membrane used to close chocolate and vegetables on sea.
    Since few years this membrane is applied in Portogall on corks, avoiding taints and others external influences. May the corks does not look nice, even after some wine permeation to the top, but wine inside never get worse.
    Nice idea isn’t it? The closure looks like cork, has the mechanic proprieties, but never influences taste…

    Sieghard Vaja, winemaker in Puglia

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