Previously I asked a question regarding nomacorc. This has lead me to look more carefully at the corks that make their way into the boat. Now assuming that we are prolific wine consumers (only for research purposes I assure you!), is there a way of knowing before opening/purchasing a bottle of wine if it is drinkable/good quality, or just plonk, from the cork?

1 Answer 1


Yes and No. Expensive wines are generally bottled in more expensive packaging because there is a greater profit margin and winemakers want to exude an air of exclusivity and expense. The unfortunately part is usually you can't see the cork because of the foil and the dark color of the bottle.

But, if you could visually inspect the cork before you open the bottle, yes those that tend to use more expensive corks generally mean a higher quality wine. Screwcaps and plastic corks generally mean a lower quality wine, EXCEPT in Australia and New Zealand where there is a large push to use screwcaps for all levels of wine to reduce TCA taint.

So, if you could look at the cork, these are the things you might look for.

Cork Grading

Cork Grades

  • As usual you are the master, thanks for all of that - however, if I were to be able to inspect the top of the cork before opening it, is there anything to look out for. Commented Apr 4, 2017 at 15:08
  • The fewer the imperfections the higher quality the cork. Almost no dark marks or striations. Lower quality corks have more dark spots and holes. Commented Apr 4, 2017 at 16:57
  • Thanks again, however how does that work out with the 'plastic - alternative' corks? Commented Apr 4, 2017 at 20:07
  • Plastic corks are much harder to tell. I would say that the more it looks and feels like a real cork, the more expensive they are. The ones that are purple or pink or whatever are probably the cheapest ones made. Commented Apr 4, 2017 at 20:58

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