How effective are natural corks when submerged?

I recently had to transport a cooler full of wine bottles (traveling in hot weather; didn’t want the bottles to leak or the wine to go bad from the heat). The bottles were juuuust tall enough that I couldn’t stand the bottles upright in the cooler, so I had to lay them flat. This meant that I had a number of bottles submerged for a couple of days in water from the ice melting in the cooler. What’s the likelihood that water got into the bottles?

I’d say it was pretty much equal to the likelihood that wine got into the icewater, which is to say not much at all.

What Rhubard said.

Corks are actually meant to be moist, which is why wine bottles are stored lying flat, to keep the inner end of the cork wet with wine.
I’m sure they’re fine.

WAG, but I’d even bet that there is likely a slightly greater pressure inside the wine bottle, than outside, so the liquid would want to move out of the bottle, rather than in.

I’d probably not want to store it that way forever, but I seem to remember someone extracting cognac from some deep shipwreck, and apparenlty it sold for HUGE $$$$ as it was a) rare as all heck, and b) still intact, even though stoppered with cork, and submerged.

Heck, that was probably a great place to “age” it!. Cold, dark… mmm… old booze…


Here is a link about some 100+ year old champagne that was found… I’m certain similar storys exist about different recoveries, but I’m too lazy to find them.


Well, that’s a relief. It’s not like the wine was all that expensive, but it woulda been a shame if it were affected.

Wet cork swells, so the bottles were probably actually sealed more effectively when submerged.