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saran wrap and corked wine

i just read that you can uncork corked wine by decanting into a carafe with a coupla three 'balls of saran wrap and then vigorously shaking.

can this possibly be true?

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  1. Some say it works, most say it is bunk. But if you want wine that tastes of saran wrap . . .

    1 Reply
    1. re: dinwiddie

      saran wrap is tasteless - or should be anyway.

    2. Yes, though it's not 100% effective and won't restore a corked wine to what it would have been were it not corked. And the plastic doesn't have to be Saran Wrap -- any polyethylene bag or wrap will do. And vigorous shaking isn't necessary. And the wine doesn't have to be decanted, though decanting makes it easier to retrieve the plastic.


      1. There is something in the polyethylene that binds up the 2,4,6-trichloranisole and, thus, removes it from the wine.

        I would NOT SHAKE the wine -- you'll only introduce excessive amounts of oxygen in the wine. You need one piece of plastic wrap, and either push it inside the bottle -- leave overnight -- or decant it (carswell is correct; it *is* easier to remove it if you decant it, but it's not necessary).

        1. When this thread appeared on alt.food.wine some years ago, I snickered, but some were pretty serious about it. Just so happens that I opened a mildly-corked Cal-Chard, while reading that thread. I grabbe the Saran Wrap and lined a funnel, pouring the wine slowly into another vessel. "Hm-m," thought, "a bit of a change for the better." I discussed this little, non-controlled experiment (I was, however, familiar with that wine), on the board. The suggestion was made, that I had not exposed the wine to the plastic long enough, so I sampled, then wadded up the plastic, placing it into the wine for the night. Next evening the wine was better, as far as the TCA was concerned. It was not gone completely, but better. Now, the wine was no where close to what I expected from it, only somewhat freed of the TCA taint. Damage had been done. The wine was now, at least, drinkable, but I would just return it (if possible) in the future and not go the Saran Wrap. My snickering died out to the sound of Saran Wrap being crinkled...


          1. The aroma/flavor is still "scalped", but the TCA is gone. I've found it works best with sturdy wines like vintage port or German riesling, that can handle being open and exposed to oxygen long enough for the process to work (e.g., overnight in the fridge). I push it into the bottle with a chopstick. The wine will be drinkable or you can salvage it for cooking.

            7 Replies
            1. re: Melanie Wong

              Melanie, to work with your last sentence: have you ever cooked with "corked" wine? I have not, and have never considered doing so, but, others have indicated that the TCA does not affect the food, in which the wine is used for cooking. Another reason that I ask is because of one of my few "run-ins" with a sommelier. When rejecting a btl. of Red Shoulders Ranch Chard, the sommelier asked what I wanted him to do with the wine. My reply was to just replace it with an uncorked bottle. He then stated, for all of the restaurant to hear, " if that's the case, the chef will just cook with it." I was agast, but others have indicated that the heat renders the wine fine for cooking. Any experience? I just schlep it back and ask for a replacement - two in the last two weeks, but that is life, and I have never had a retailer, who refused, or even hesitated. Usually, I have to ask them to get off their knees and quit apologizing, as "it happens."

              Just curious,

              1. re: Bill Hunt

                Sue Courtney, the owner of the New Zealand Wine of the Week website, reports that TCA disappears when cooked. www.wineoftheweek.com/stories/winered... Have never been able to bring myself to test her thesis; like you, I tend to return the bottle.

                1. re: carswell

                  I've not tried cooking with a TCA-affected bottle. Can't stand pulling out the stopper and having the smell in the house, even for a moment. But I have heard from some friends who keep a vinegar barrel that the corkiness disappears in the process. Don't know.

                  1. re: Melanie Wong

                    I once made the mistake of popping a bottle and pouring it directly in a hot pan to deglaze, I tasted my sauce to test for seasoning and my sauce was corked! It was awful and no amount of cooking could get rid of it. Never again will I cook with a wine I have not tasted first. Always return the bottle, the retailer can then return it so they are not out anything.....they along with the winery should want you to have the best that bottle has to offer.

                  2. re: Bill Hunt

                    The TCA disappears when cooked, at least in my experience.

                    I had a bottle of 2002 J.J. Confuron NSG, 'les fleuriers' a while back that was corked and I couldn't return it.

                    Made a beautiful Coq au Vin though.

                    1. re: Cancuk

                      Perhaps you personally don't notice it in cooked dishes, but TCA certainly does not disappear when you cook wine. In fact, 2,4,6-trichloroanisole has a higher boiling point than water, so you're far more likely to concentrate the corked flavor when cooking wine down.

                2. Thank you for this tip. Since smetimes the wine has been purchased at the vineyard and I won't be going back anytime soon this is good to know. Happens rarely, but what a disappointment when it does. Thanks will give it try, I have never found it good to be cooked with or anything else. I usually dump it.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: chef chicklet

                    I'm with you on NOT cooking with wine, with any flaws, whatsoever. However, I know many, who claim that it does not affect the sauce, whatever. For me (and a poster above, with a "corked" sauce), it just seems bad economy.

                    Yeah, when purchased from the winery, there could be a problem. I have had two, IIRC, that came as club wines, and an e-mail brought replacement bottles, with an apology. In both of these cases, they asked me to not ship the bottles back, but I was ready to do so, if it might help them in any way.

                    For me, there are two things to consider:
                    Having my bad wine replaced with good.
                    Helping the producer track down, and eliminate any problems.

                    In a perfect world, all wine would be free from cork-taint, and other faults. It would have been stored (even if purchased at auction, etc.) perfectly, and transported, so as to arrive in perfect condition. It would also pair exceptionally well with whatever I serve it with! Hey, I can dream, can't I?


                    1. re: Bill Hunt

                      Oh I just must have an extra sensitive palate, I can't handle that taste at all, and found corked wine not fit for anything at all.

                      I would not want to waste the sauce ingredients or risk the meal.

                      That's why I was so surpried to see the saran wrap and decanting thing. I think I will still try it and I"ll let you know. However, I have to say I am skeptical.
                      We'll see.

                      1. re: chef chicklet

                        Again, the wine will NOT be returned to pristine condition, as if the taint had never been present. But it more than makes the wine "passable." It will be good, not great.

                        1. re: chef chicklet

                          Do not expect miracles, but I was surprised how effective it was to reducing the TCA. Now, if you know the wine, or what to expect from the wine, you will be dissapointed. However, I had to eat my words, when using this method, and I did not leave the wine in contact with the Saran Wrap as long as recommended. OTOH, my first line of defense would be to just return the bottle for credit.


                    2. TCA 2,4,6 is a microbial infection. saran wrap cannot undue organic degredation. sorry.

                      5 Replies
                      1. re: jaime smith

                        "TCA 2,4,6 is a microbial infection."

                        Actually, it's a chemical compound produced when chlorophenols react with mould in the presence of moisture, i.e. a contaminant, not a sign of organic degradation.. And it does bind with polyethylene.

                        1. re: jaime smith

                          No. Microbes are essential to its creation, but it is NOT a "microbial infection."

                          I would suggest you look at "The Science of Wine from Vine to Glass" by Jamie Goode, (c)2005, UC Press, pages 146-147.

                          At the International Wine Challenge in London, the rate-of-taint in 2001 was 6.0%; in 2002, 4.6%, and in 2003, 4.9%.

                          The Australian Wine Research Institute ran tests on every cork during three different Wine Assessment Courses, these tests consisting of chemical analysis via gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS). They tested a total of 1,625 bottles sealed with cork closures. 6.46 of these showed TCA taint. Applying "statistical confidence limits" to the market as a whole, there is a 99 percent certainly that if the sample (of 1,625 bottles) is representative of the entire market at large, then the "real world" rate-of-taint is between 5.0-8.2%.

                          1. re: zin1953

                            hey, then i'm batting right at the average! and i was worried my nose was out of kilter ...(vbg)

                            1. re: zin1953

                              That's in the ballpark for my winemaker acquaintances, who state 4-10% and I seem to be running in the mid-range of that.

                              Thanks for the data,

                            2. re: jaime smith

                              I, too, was incredulous, through different logic, but a quick test yielded results that surprised me. The wine was NOT returned to original condition, but the TCA was diminished to a barely noticable level. Mind games? I kinda' doubt it, especially as I expected it to NOT work in any way.


                            3. am i reading this correctly? and i have tried the plastic issue, it mutes it faintly but i might be wrong but even a little bit of poison is still poison.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: jaime smith

                                Are you saying "poison" seriously? TCA will not harm you. (No known human pathogen can live in wine.)

                                But "corked" is still "corked" -- this will indeed go a long way towards cleaning it up and making it drinkable, but my "option of first resort" is always to return the wine . . .

                              2. Reviving this thread, like Lazarus from the dead...

                                ...because in the January 13th, 2009, New York Times, Harold McGee, the food scientist/writer reports on using plastic wrap to remove TCA. McGee enlists the assistance of Andrew Waterhouse, a professor of wine chemistry at UC-Davis, and Darrell Corti, the very knowledgeable proprietor of Corti Brothers grocery in Sacramento.

                                "Mr. Waterhouse said that the obnoxious, dank flavor of a 'corked' wine, which usually renders it unusable even in cooking, can be removed by pouring the wine into a bowl with a sheet of plastic wrap.

                                "'It’s kind of messy, but very effective in just a few minutes,' he said. The culprit molecule in infected corks, 2,4,6-trichloroanisole, is chemically similar to polyethylene and sticks to the plastic."

                                The three also tested the effects of the Wand and the Clef, and "detected some differences between carafes and glasses of wine that were treated with the Wand or the Clef, and the wines that were left alone. The differences were not great, and not always in favor of the treated wine, which usually seemed to be missing something...Mr. Waterhouse thought the elimination of sulfur aromas is all that these accessories — or, for that matter, aeration — had to offer. "

                                It's an interesting article:
                                The Curious Cook: For a Tastier Wine, the Next Trick Involves ...


                                11 Replies
                                1. re: maria lorraine

                                  When I saw this one come up on the board, I was going to do a search for an older thread. Well, this WAS that older thread.

                                  I've used the Saranwrap® treatment, with a little bit of improvement. It was pointed out that I had not crumpled the plastic into a large ball (bringing more of its surface area into contact with the wine) and had not subjected the wine to the plastic long enough. Probably correct, as I had stated the mechanics of my little experiment, and the approximate time of the treatment. As I did *seem* to notice an improvement, however slight, those points may well be valid. I also believe that what I tasted was an improvement, as I was a pure skeptic, and did not expect any positive change. Have not revisited that test, but happen to have two bottles of Neyers Chard, that are lightly corked. Rather than return them for a replacement, maybe I'll grab one and do this all over again. I will pick up a "control" bottle, to do an A-B comparison. Hey, the thread lives and breaths again, so a little test can't hurt.


                                  1. re: Bill Hunt

                                    I am most interested in finding solution to "corked" wine , however I have no idea what is "saran wrap" ?
                                    For the further education of this Non-American, could some kind hearted soul please clarify ? (using international vocabulary)

                                    Might it have anything to do with Kitchen film (or cling-film)?

                                    If not, then can you please what it is ?

                                    Thanks very much,

                                    1. re: Aosta

                                      Saran Wrap is a polyethylene film used to wrap foods and cover dishes. Any form of polyethylene will work.

                                      1. re: Aosta

                                        In the UK, it is often called "Plastiwrap." As Carswell points out, it is a very thin membrane of material (polyethylene, usually), that is used to seal food items. It is not totally unlike an aluminum foil, except clear and plastic, and usually sticks to the edges of pots, pans and bowls.

                                        Have not heard the terms, "Kitchen film," or "Cling film," but would suspect that they are likely to be one and the same. The exact composition of this film (polyethylene) is important here. There could be other compositions, that might/migh not apply. The container should give you the main component of the "film."

                                        Just curious, but where, on the globe, are you located? I enjoy learning different terms for items that I take for granted.

                                        I will report back, as I have two bottles of Chardonnay (I find that many whites show the TCA contamination before many reds do), that I will press into service for this test. Tomorrow, I plan on picking up a "control" bottle of the same wine.


                                        1. re: Bill Hunt


                                          to answer your question, I am something of a mix: from French mother and British father, married to an Italian girl and based in the tiny Alpine region of Val d'Aosta at the foothills of the Mont Blanc.

                                          My vocabulary is a result of the above.

                                          Saran Wrap probably refers to the name of the manufacturer whose product became so obiquitous in the US it stuck and substituted the descriptive name (similar examples in the UK might be Hoover - instead of vacum cleaner or Scotch instead of Sellotape).

                                          Anyway, if this "corked-taint remover" solution atually works, it would be a godsend for me. I often buy wines when travelling and then store them in my cellar for several months or years. It then becomes difficult to bring them back in case iof a fault.

                                          Seems most of testing was on White wine, does it work also with Red?


                                          1. re: Aosta

                                            My mind is going blank, but yes, Saran Wrap® is a product from a single producer (will go up and look to see if we have any of the "real stuff"). The name has become similar to Coke, or Kleenex, in that it has almost become generic in the US. If I recall the history of this market, I would say that it was probably the first, or maybe the best of other similar products in the US, when first introduced.

                                            I would *guess* that if it is adequate to remove most of the TCA, it would not matter which type of wine it is used on.

                                            Now, with TCA contamination, I usually find three aspects:

                                            1.) the taste/smell of the TCA contamination (wet hymnals in an old church is my usual descriptor)

                                            2.) the fruit has been "scalped," and just cannot be found

                                            3.) the acid levels go up. Now, this one is up for debate, as one trusted, knowlegable poster here, finds the opposite - acid goes down. While I would love to spend a day tasting wine with this person, I'd NOT fancy doing this with TCA-contaminated wines, just to see what is happening to the acid levels. For me, they go up with the degree of TCA contamination.

                                            Glad I rescued the two corked bottles of Neyers. I should pick up the "control" tomorrow and attempt to do a worthwhile experiment.

                                            In my last forray into the use of polyethelene film to remove TCA, it did seem to imporve the wine. Still, I found that #2 and #3 (above) did NOT come back into line. As I said, my tests were quick, and others pointed out that I had likely made two mistakes: the surface area of the film and the time allowed.



                                            1. re: Aosta

                                              We had a dinner party last night with some wine loving friends. Among the offerings was a 21-year old cabernet sauvignon from Washington State. Alas, It was textbook corked. Someone suggested we try the saran wrap trick, so we crammed a big wad into the decanter with a chopstick and waited. After 15 minutes the corkiness had noticably diminished and we thought we could taste some fruit. After 30 minutes you really had to look for the taint. After 45 minutes it was really pretty enjoyable. There's no telling what it would have been like uncorked, but as has been pointed out, it's fine to bring a recently purchased bad bottle back from whence it came, but if it's something you paid good money for, maybe while traveling, cellared it tenderly for years until company, occasion or whim motivated you to open it, and it was corked, you are plain out of luck. It's nice to know there's an alternative to try.

                                              1. re: dr. pepper

                                                Any updates on this method? I opened a 2001 Anne Gros Burgundy that I've carted back and forth from east and west coasts for the past decade and perhaps not surprisingly given history, it was badly corked. Just poured it into a decanter with a wad of Glad brand plastic wrap (it's what I have, and not sure if it was concluded that the trick was effective tout court, and that Saran brand wrap was essential or superior, if so. Appreciate advice, as it's not the only bottle that has endured the journeys.

                                                1. re: dbird

                                                  Hi, dbird:

                                                  I think the consensus is that it works, at least in part, and at least to some degree. If you're working with what you have...

                                                  But that was 3 hours ago. How did it turn out?


                                                  1. re: dbird

                                                    Was it corked (contaminated with TCA), or just bad?

                                                    1. re: dbird

                                                      "I opened a 2001 Anne Gros Burgundy that I've carted back and forth from east and west coasts for the past decade and perhaps not surprisingly given history, it was badly corked."

                                                      Transportation and/or storage has nothing to do with a wine being corked. The Saran treatment will not restore a wine that has been improperly stored.

                                        2. Joined Chowhound just to thank everyone who tried this and posted about it. Saved a bottle of corked Sow's Ear wild blueberry wine with 3 wads of saran in a mason quart. After an hour, the blueberry flavor was back with only a little bitterness in the finish, not atypical or displeasing in either the berries or the wine made from them. Would probably still return wine over $30 and/or purchased within 20 miles of home, but this was a nice chill pill from Chowhound