Penfolds is taking its re-corking clinic on a 25th anniversary tour and next up is New York, Miami, Los Angeles and Vancouver. See the dates and hear about how it works.
The first Penfolds re-corking clinic opened in 1991.
It’s an opportunity for collectors to surface with old vintages of Penfolds wines and find out what condition they are in and when to drink them.
If a wine is still in a good condition, it is ‘certified’, said chief winemaker Peter Gago during a clinic in London on 30 September.
‘Some wines may be just hanging on by their fingernails, but are still fine.’
Gago will be in New York for the next re-corking clinic on 21 October. After that, it’s Miami on 25 October, Vancouver on 28 October and Los Angeles on 2 November.
The re-corking process
At Penfolds, when someone brings in a wine, they explain where they got it, how long they’ve had it and other details of the history.
Wines must be at least 15 years old, but Penfolds encourages people to wait even longer before bringing them in.
‘If the level of wine is good, we try to talk them out of it,’ said Gago. ‘Re-corking is our last resort.’
If they decide to go through with re-corking, bottle is opened and the Penfolds experts taste it.
If it has been declared in good condition, the wine is then topped up with the current release of that wine and re-corked. Wines can only be re-corked once.
The details of the wine are all recorded in a database, and the wine gets the certification.
There have been some occasions of fakes being spotted at clinics – although in many cases these are ‘innocent fakes’, said Gago.
The advantage of the re-corking and certification is that if the wine goes to auction, it has proof of authenticity.
It also means that fake or bad bottles are taken out of circulation. If that happens, the collector is given another bottle of Penfolds to compensate.
There can be huge differences between the same wines brought to the clinics.
‘We can never assume people cellar wines properly,’ said Gago. ‘I can get differences even in my own cellar.’
The clinics are educational, teaching about drinking windows and the best ways to store your wine.
There has been an improvement as people are keeping their wines in better conditions.
‘Over the years we’ve been running this in Australia, the wines that are brought in are getting better,’ said Gago.
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