Evaluate the condition of this cork

This is a 2001 SQN Ventriloquist I’ve had for many years. Since there’s no capsule, the cork can be seen clearly, and shows saturation up to the point where it’s hidden behind the wax cap. The wax is in perfect condition, level and no cracks.

I’m not really worried about the wine, and in fact another bottle I acquired from a different source has similar saturation. I’m not sure that I could call this “seepage” since it’s not clear that wine has made it to the top of the cork or beyond. I’m just interested if anyone would have the point of view that the wine is suspect based on the condition of the cork.

I double-checked on Google images, but it doesn’t look like the neck is cylindrical. Of course the cork is compressed going into the bottle, but that could explain the seepage up the sides of the corks. Especially if the bottles are palletized neck down, which would allow the seepage to occur before the cork re-expanded. Probably just an aesthetic issue. (The cork does not look saturated to me.)

Yup, a vanity bottle with truncated neck.

The top seal seems likely good.

Tough one to answer as it could be a number of things, from fine to not fine. The only real way to tell is to open it.

However, I wouldn’t expect a 15 year old cork to be saturated up the sides like that already. Unless it was heat damaged, bad cork, or had a bottle neck that doesn’t seal correctly (SQN uses so many one-off bottles there could be an internal neck size variation that didn’t allow the bottom part to seal totally, hence it creeping up).

I could use the bottom of that damned neck for a shirt collar.
But, then, I am a pinhead.

I think you guys are right that the neck is narrower at the top. My bottles (again from two sources) consistently show wine climbing up the side, but in all other ways are perfectly intact. At my own peril I will plan to open one bottle, which will allow me to examine the very top of the cork for seepage and to evaluate the condition of the wine.


Looking forward to your impressions. I would wager it’s fine!

Probably ruined. I will jump on that grenade for you. Please send FedEx priority overnight so I can drink it post haste. God bless.

Forgot to finish this off: when the seal was removed it was clear the top was fine, no seepage. The wine was in perfect condition. I need to do more experiments like that.