Bottles of wine exist in every shape, colour, design. When it comes to closure, the two major means used are cork and screw cap.
While both keep the air out of the wine, old-world wineries tend to use cork, whereas, new-world ones turned their preference towards screw caps.
The real question: Should we judge wine by its seal? No! Both are different, yet none inferior to the other, they each their positive qualities.
Screw caps are a relatively recent addition to wine history, invented in 1964.
- Less expensive for wineries and ultimately, you
- Safe from cork taint, which occasionally happens when a bad cork comes in contact with wine, giving it a mouldy cardboard smell. Not harmful, yet still a bit unwelcome and disappointing
- Easy to open and close which means wine enjoyment is more convenient
- Associated with cheap wines
- Most of them do not allow wine to breathe, hence do age
- Mostly made from non-renewable resources – hey! We do like a green planet
- Even though they are recyclable they are not biodegradable
Cork – the historic choice!
- Made from bark (tree), it can perfectly form the shape of the bottle
- Natural, hence renewable resource!
- Long-term aging proven, as it allows micro-oxidization
- Well associated with history
- Depending on the quality, they can be expensive (2-3x more)
- Although a low percentage, they can still be affected by Cork Taint
- Limited quantities
Whether cork or screw-cap, it is the inside of the bottle that counts!
Screw-cap might be the safest, most convenient way to go, as it is way more precise. Wineries that prefer their wines to maintain their varietal, fruit characteristic and to not introduce the variability of cork, are major fans of screw caps! Saying that, corks are historic! They add character, as when a bottle of wine is properly cellared, they soften and round out the tannins, show depth, texture and complexity, while expressing all kinds of flavours. What’s more, each cork allows different “breathing” than the other, which means that two identical wines can age differently. I believe this is the beauty of the world of wine: how there is a different mystery and story hidden behind every single bottle! Finally, it is the time-honouring tradition of popping a cork, which makes opening a bottle more like a ritual than a convenience. At the end of the day though, it is up to you!
See you next week!
Until then.. Strike for a glass half full !