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Date Asked

Cork Length

October 6, 2012
Question by: Jeff, New York, USA

Q:

It seems the latest vintages of the Symington line utilizes shorter 38mm cork lengths (especially the Vesuvios and Cockburns) as opposed to the standard 44mm or even older/longer 49 mm cork lengths.  Was there a reason for this?  For those of us who enjoy keeping bottles for many years, is it a cause for concern?  Should we recork with longer corks if we plan to hold for 10-20+ years?

A:

Hi Jeff, Fundamentally, the length and shape of the neck of a wine bottle determine the appropriate cork length.  We're sure you have had the experience of trying to extract the cork from some of the older bottles that have a distinct bulge mid-neck, and found that a long cork, having expanded to fill the wider space in the bulge, was very difficult to extract as it would not easily compress again to pass out of the narrower upper neck. 

We actually have done considerable research and experimentation (and learned from our own experience opening many bottles of Vintage Port over the years!) and take these design, storage, un-corking and serving considerations very seriously.  Rest assured we have chosen the appropriate length of cork for the design of the bottle, and you should have no concerns about the length of the cork affecting the cellar life of your bottles.  We do not recommend re-corking. 

Regarding Quinta do Vesuvio Vintage Ports, we changed the design of our bottles with the 2003 Vintage - compare the photo of Vesuvio 2000 (or any older vintage) with the Vesuvio 2003.  You can see we went to a taller narrower bottle, with a slightly shorter neck in proportion - and so the corks are slightly shorter to suit this new design.  Regarding Cockburn's, recall that we have only been responsible for the bottling from 2006 onwards, and we have similarly chosen the appropriate cork length to suit the design of the bottle neck.

Finally, you may want to take a look at an article on the Graham's Blog which discusses in detail the rigorous quality control we perform on all our corks - and the same process is followed for all our brands.



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