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How to handle a broken cork

It’s happened to all of us, regardless of what kind of sommelier you are. When opening up a bottle of wine, the cork breaks in half.

Most of us try to jerry-rig the cork out with either the corkscrew, or worse, a pair of pliers. However, the end result is always the same – the cork shatters and sinks to the bottom of the bottle.

What happens?

Corks can dry out causing them to break. With no friction in the remaining half of the cork, using a traditional cork screw pushes the cork back into the bottle – little bits and all.

Over 70 percent of all wines have cork stoppers which are made from the cork oak trees found mostly in Portugal and Spain. Once the cork is stripped from the tree, it doesn’t regenerate for approximately 10 years. Negativity around using cork started with the appearance of what is called ‘cork taint’. But with better production techniques, it has been significantly reduced.

Broken corks? That’s another problem. But the wine industry has a solution for that – a two-pronged corkscrew.

The prongs are thin, different lengths, and Teflon coated. To remove a broken cork, ease the longer prong in between the cork and the bottle to get an edge. Slide the shorter prong in the same way, on the other side of the cork. Using a see-saw motion ease the two prongs down the inside of the bottle until they extend beyond the cork.

Now… take your time! Gently turn and pull the cork slowly out of the bottle. Of course you’ll have to use an alternate store-bought stopper if you don’t finish the wine right away.

The Wine Butler would like to remind all it’s customers, to always drink responsibly