Re-corking clinics allow wine collectors
to test their most precious bottles.
BY BRUCE SCHOENFELD
It must have been quite a sight on that warm afternoon three Septembers ago. The van pulled up at Dr. Bob De Bellevue’s New Orleans home just after lunch. Soon, box after box of the 64-year-old dermatologist’s cherished wine collection was being lugged out the door and loaded into the cargo hold.
Within minutes, nearly 20 cases of bottles dating to the 1960s were
stashed inside. Then the door slammed, and the van sped away. A well-planned heist? A bankruptcy sale? What must neighbors have thought?
De Bellevue could have reassured them. His 200 bottles of legendary
Penfolds Grange Shiraz, along with assorted other Penfolds wines, were
headed to a nearby hotel for a rare event. They’d be back in his cellar—in
better condition than they’d left it—by nightfall.
Alone among major wine producers, Australia’s Penfolds regularly
holds re-corking clinics. The purpose is to replace aging corks in mature