Wine Questionary:

Cork is crumbly. How can I get it out?

Sometimes when you're trying to remove a cork, especially in an older wine, will start to crumble instead of coming out in one clean piece.

What to do? Don't panic. Proceed slowly and carefully, without haste, as you want to avoid pushing fragments of the cork into the wine if you can. Switching corkscrews to one with a different shape or design of screw sometimes helps. Another old wine steward's trick is to try two corkscrews, pointed in at slight angles to each other; try to work them in from opposite sides until they meet at the bottom of the cork, then pull them very gently.

Another approach: Try one of the simple, two-pronged cork removers commonsly called "Ah So" or "Thieving Butler," working the flat prongs gently down each side of the troublesome cork.

Finally, remember this: Even if your efforts fail and the crumbly remnants of the cork fall into your wine, it's not ruined. Pour it into a decanter or clean glass pitcher through a fine-meshed strainer or paper coffee filter, and all will be well.


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