If your wine is corked, it is perfectly acceptable to take it back to the wine shop where you bought it (subject to local laws). They should give you a full refund, or they might just tell you to grab another bottle of the same wine. One thing to remember though – do NOT pour out the wine! Return the corked wine from your glass(es) to the bottle. Otherwise it may seem like you’re trying to get a free bottle of wine – and, it’s the “proof” that the wine is flawed. Oh, and you’ll probably need a receipt. And you probably won’t be able to return a wine that you purchased two years ago (though it depends on the retailer’s policy).

What does a corked wine smell like? Your nose will pick up scents of wet cardboard or newspaper, wet dog, or a musty, moldy basement. Cork taint comes from TCA, or the chemical compound trichloroanisole. About 5% of wine tends to be corked to varying degrees. Sometimes it’s hard to detect and can be a subtle muting of the fruit flavors or freshness. Don’t be concerned, because drinking corked wine is not harmful. It’s just disappointing to miss out on a great wine…which is why you should feel no hesitation in returning it if you suspect cork taint.

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