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Cork Vs. Screwcaps. Which Is Better? - Articles Surfing

One of the biggest arguments among wine lovers is not Red vs. White, or French wine vs. California wine. One of the biggest arguments that you'll hear among wine lovers is natural cork vs. screw caps. That's right... whether or not wine bottles should be sealed with traditional cork stoppers, or with screw caps. Each method of sealing the wine bottle has it's good points and it's bad points.

Traditional corks are under attack, mostly for the reason that they could allow the wine to become "corked". That is, the wine reacts with a substance called trichloroanisole. This substance is formed when the chlorine, which is used to sanitize the cork, reacts with a mold that grows in some cork. Trichloranisole, or TCA, causes a musty odor, and a flat, moldy flavor. An estimated 5-10% of wines on merchant shelves are "corked".

Natural corks are also not always easy to remove from the bottle. With the old spiral corkscrew, you have to put it in the cork just right, and not screw it in too far. And even if you get the corkscrew into the cork just right, pieces of the cork do crumble into the wine.

That isn't to say that cork stoppers are bad. They do allow the wine to breathe a bit. Their porous nature allows oxygen into the bottle, and other gases out. Some experts say that this is what allows wine to age. Others, however, claim that it is the compounds in the wine that allow aging. One of the other good things about natural corks, is the satisfying "pop" as it comes out of the bottle. A screw cap can't compare with the drama and romance of popping a cork out of the neck of the bottle.

You may have also seen synthetic corks in some bottles of wine. These stoppers, instead of being made from natural cork bark, are made from plastic. Synthetic corks are even harder to get out of the bottle than natural corks, and near impossible to put back into the bottle, if you need to put the bottle away after opening. Synthetic corks have also been known to allow the wine to oxidize, which causes flatness in the wine. It takes away some of the chemicals that form an important part of the wine aroma.

Screw caps, on the other hand, seem to be the perfect solution for sealing a bottle of wine. Screw caps don't allow the wine to become "corked", like natural corks. They're easier to remove than both natural and synthetic corks. And they don't allow the wine to oxidize like synthetic corks. There is some argument about whether screw caps allow the wine to age, like a natural cork does. Since aging a bottle of wine may take 5-50 years, and the screw cap is a relatively recent development, it will take some time to determine whether or not the wine will age as well.

So, screw caps make a good seal for a bottle of wine. But they do have the big drawback of not being as dramatic as a cork. Close your eyes for a moment, and imaging going to a fancy restaurant for a romantic dinner with your spouse. The waiter brings out a bottle of the most expensive wine, then unscrews a bottle cap. It just doesn't have the flair of pulling a cork.

In the future it's likely that you'll see more and more wine being sealed with a screw cap than with a cork. Personally, the advantages seem to be in favor of the screw cap. But with proper storage, a good bottle of wine can liven up a party or meal, no matter whether it's sealed with a cap or a cork.

Submitted by:

Tim Sousa

Tim Sousa is a wine enthusiast. If you like wine as much as he does, you need to see his website, Wine Country Guide.



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