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20 Nov 2017 By

The 11 Things That Happen When You Recork Your Wine Bottle at the Penfolds Recorking Clinic.

Held on Nov 14 at Capella, Sentosa, the Penfolds team recorked over 500 bottles in just one day. Yes, the recorking process is way more fast and furious than you realise.

Penfolds Re-corking Process (2)

After you’ve registered – some people bring one bottle, others a few cases – the bottled is assessed by the Penfolds team. We were privileged to have the house’s principle winemaker Peter Gago talk us through the clinic.

2 Penfolds Re-corking Process (2)

The necessary tools for the first part of the clinic. Recorking is also preventative; it arrests deterioration. It also takes bad wines out of circulation.

2 Penfolds Re-corking Process (2)

The bottled are accessed by the team to see its condition. Sometimes ‘bad’ bottles are rejected for various reasons: Bad cellaring, possible contamination, too much leakage etc. One of the major purposes of recorking your fine bottle of wine is to authenticate it, and if it doesn’t pass the first test, the team sticks a white label on it. This doesn’t make it bad, it just means the team doesn’t think it warrants recorking, but that it also means you should be drinking it soon (to the delight of some owners).

penfolds recorking

And voila! There’s no nice way to say this. (Make your own Harvey Weinstein joke here).

3a Stephanie Dutton at the Penfolds Re-corking Clinic (2)

Penfolds’ Senior Red Winemaker Stephanie Dutton fills an uncorked bottle with 2% of the most recent similar blend, i.e. an old Grange will have new Grange; an old St Henri will be refilled with 2% of the latest St Henri blend. (It has been worked out that a 2% addition will not change the constitution of the older wine). Hence your registered bottle cannot have too much ullage.

[ Ullage, and 25 other booze words you should know ]

Oh yes, they do pour out a smidgen of your precious wine to taste. Sure, it’s all a necessary part of the job. Sure.

[ Check out the 17 wines from the 2017 Penfolds Collection ]

Fill with argon and recorked. Done in one second. (Incidentally, that 2% top-up – 15ml – brings the ullage to the right level, and adds, according to Gago, 25-30 extra years to the bottle of wine.)

penfolds recorking 6

The foil capsule is replaced, a process that only takes one second. But its authentication will last your lifetime.

penfolds recorking 8

A certification of authenticity is stuck on – giving your ‘new’ bottle of wine credibility and commercial clout. Oh, did we mention, a rep from Sothebys is there the whole time to observe the recorking process. Their presence ensures that there’s no shenanigans and sleight of hand, and thus the next time one of these bottles appear at an auction, it would be the real deal.

Penfolds Re-corking Process (2)

“Being global is having clients in all the countries where there’s Penfolds,” explains Gago. “Wines are heirlooms, they are unique and has a story, each bottle is personal. Great wines start off great, and it gets better. It’s a slow ascent until it plateaus. We’re trying to educate people, to encourage people to optimally drink the wine.”

Penfolds is the only wine company in the world that recorks its wine bottles for its customers.

2013 Penfolds Grange

Start hoarding yours today.

Like this? Read about Penfolds legend Max Schubert

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