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Cork vs Screwcap

Cork versus Screwcap

Wines have been bottled under cork closures since the 1400s. However in the past thirty years, debate has raged as to whether cork is the right closure to use, due the high incidence of cork taint and oxidation in the wines, leading to alternative closures to be developed. This is especially evident in Australia and New Zealand where most wines are now bottled under screwcap.

There are both pros and cons to using either cork or screwcap, with the quality of both closure type improving all the time, ensuing that the debate will continue for many more years to come.

Cork

Pros Cons
A natural renewable resource. Good quality corks are two to three times more expensive than screwcap.
Historically preferred. Up to 6% affected by TCA ‘Cork’ Taint.
Long-term aging proven. Limited natural resource.
Romantic! Variable quality.
Natural corks breathe at variable rates.
Corks are prone to oxidation – especially during poor transportation and storage conditions.

Screwcap

Pros Cons
No TCA or Cork Taint issues. Not as romantic as cork.
Reduces premature oxidation. Some of the earlier screwcaps didn’t breathe, which created reductive characters in certain grape varieties, such as Sauvignon Blanc.
Maintains freshness of the wine. Associated with cheap wine.
Allows the wine to be served the way the winemaker intended. Recyclable but not biodegradable.
No flavour modification flavour and scalping.
No bottle variation.
Easy to open and close.
Less wastage of wine and less consumer returns due to faulty corks, saving money for wholesalers and retailers.
Cost effective closure choice for winemakers.
New screwcap closures have been developed to allow oxygen into the wines in order to reduce reductive characters (or ‘off’) in the wine.

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