Cork vs. Screwcap: The Never Ending Debate

wine, corks, screwcaps, closures, wines, screwcap debate, cork, debate rages


We are a little torn on the screwcap vs. cork debate. On the one hand, the ease of opening and resealing a wine bottle that uses a screwcap closure is wonderful. On the other hand, a bit of the romance is lost when you don’t hear that “pop” when you crack open a bottle. Plus, we plan on starting to collect corks. We want to save the corks from every bottle we drink. The corks from special occasions get set aside. The others go into a cork cage. There are grand plans to make a cork board similar to this one someday. Screwcaps don’t exactly inspire nostalgia like wine corks do.
However, more and more wine producers are turning to the screwcap – and not just for lower-end wines. Way back in 2006 the Wall Street Journal reported that cork is fast losing ground:

The cork has nearly disappeared from Australia’s domestically produced – and broadly exported – wines. In California, screw caps are no longer reserved for jug wines: The $155-a-bottle Plumpjack Reserve Cabernet is a twist-off. Even France, the country most reluctant to abandon a corky tradition, is flirting with alternatives. Earlier this year, Maison Jean-Claude Boisset became the first to do away with corks on a grand cru red burgundy, sealing half its $200-a-bottle 2005 Chambertin with screw caps.

Experts cite tricholoanisole (TCA, or the chemical that causes a wine to become “corked”) as the primary reason producers are shifting to other methods of closure. However, screwcaps are not without their own problems. Corks allow very small amounts of oxygen into the wine. A screwcap can seal the bottle so tightly that no oxygen can get in, and that might cause a problem called “reduction.” Whereas a bottle of “corked” wine has a distinct, moldly, off-putting smell, a bottle of wine sealed by a screwcap might eventually put off a smell of sulfur – equally unappealing our book.

We doubt the question of which is the better closure will be answered anytime soon. But we suppose we should start perfecting my method of removing wine labels, just in case corks become a rare commodity.

What are your thoughts on this debate? Let us know in the comments section below.

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