If you are a regular wine drinker it is almost certain that you have opened a corked bottle or two in your time.
As a result of a tainted cork, the wine smells and tastes unpleasant – all musky and mouldy.
After the initial disappointment, you then have the worry of trying to get your money back from the wine shop or supermarket.
Or you may face an awkward conversation with a supercilious wine waiter, whose boss might not take kindly to reimbursing you, especially if it was an expensive bottle and the taint isn’t too prominent.
Figures for how many cork-sealed wine bottles are affected by cork taint are hotly disputed, but a 2007 study put it as high as one in 10.
With reputations on the line, and money lost on wine tipped down sinks, it is not surprising that winemakers around the world are continuing to ditch corks for metal screw-cap openings on their bottles. So much so that cork went from sealing 95% of wine bottles globally in the 1990s, to just 62% in 2009.
This is bad news for Portugal’s cork producers, who supply more than half the world market from forests of cork oak trees in the south of the country. However, the industry is fighting back.