Penfolds recently released the dates for its 2014 Recorking Clinics around Australia. The company is also holding clinics in Beijing, New Zealand and North America.

Here are the Australian dates:

Brisbane, 5 – 6 August, Hilton Hotel

Sydney, 19 – 21 August, Shangri-La Hotel

Melbourne, 2 – 4 September, Crown Metropol Melbourne

Perth, 17 – 18 September, Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club

Adelaide, 30 September – 1 October, National Wine Centre.

To visit the Clinic you need to register your interest through the Penfold’s website Contact Form or call their Customer Service line on 1300 651 650 during June.

Penfolds Grange 1970, Clinic Label 2012Clinics are useful for people who want a “health check” on their older bottles. To be eligible for appraisal, the wine must be 15 years or older, ie. 1999 vintage or earlier.

Here’s a brief recap on what happens at a Penfolds recorking clinic:

  • Your bottle is assessed by a Penfolds winemaker to see whether it’a a good candidate for recorking. You may be asked questions about when the bottle was acquired and how it’s been cellared.
  • If necessary, the bottle is opened, tasted and assessed.
  • If the bottle is deemed to be in good condition (ie. the wine tastes fine), it will be topped up with a recent vintage of the same wine and recorked. A Penfolds Recorking Clinic label, certified and dated by the winemaker who assessed your bottle, is adhered to the back of the bottle.
  • If the bottle fails the taste test, it will receive a white dot.

Recorking is not without its Critics

In a recent article, wine critic Huon Hooke noted that the concept of recorking is not without its critics. He cites anecdotal evidence that ‘cliniced’ bottles of Grange are fresher and more youthful than un-cliniced bottles, and mentions that he has heard Penfolds winemakers talk of how the process ‘refreshes’ a wine. But, as Hooke points out, typically less than 20 ml (about 2.66% of the total content of the bottle) of the current vintage is used to top up the wine, far less than the 10% of wine other than that stated on the label, which is permitted by law. (Penfolds Recorking Clinics 2014 by Huon Hooke, Hooked on Wine, 23 May 2014)

Merrill Witt New York

By Merrill Witt, Editor


Photo Credit: Treasury Wine Estates