What do you get when you smell a wine cork? Besides a big red spot on your nose if it is a rouge wine, generally not much. Contrary to popular belief, smelling the cork reveals very little about the wine. When given a cork to examine by your sommelier or server, you should check for vintage date and other information about the ordered bottle. Specifically look for mold, breaks in the cork, cracking, or sponginess, all of which may indicate possible flaws in the wine. Though some experts and magazines will lead you to believe that smelling the cork is essential, a better proof positive is to simply smell the wine in your glass to reveal any imperfections.