Last evening I opened a bottle of the 1979 Serradayres from the Tejo, or Ribatejo as it was probably called back in that epoch. To my surprise when I cut off the top of the foil I found that the cork had fallen into the wine. I immediately assumed that the wine would be past it, especially as the level was around high shoulder.
Naturally before considering pouring it down the sink, I tasted it. The wine was fine with good texture and remarkably youthful for a 1979. Served blind no-one among the ten of us guessed that it was a 1979. Most placed it sometime in the 1990s.
I don't know when the cork fell into the wine but it must have been a while ago as the the exterior of the bottle was sticky from dried wine and there were also traces of dried wine where the bottle had been stored.
Raises the question of whether we really need a stopper – or is some foil sufficient? Also this wouldn't have happened with a screwcap. It is also a testimony to how resilient wine can be.