One of the most frequently asked questions is whether a cork is better than a screw cap? Many ask if screw caps are just for cheap wines? These are very valid questions as corks have been the historical preference since the 1400’s. One is not better, and screw caps are certainly not just for cheap wines. So let’s explore the benefits and drawbacks of these closures.
Cork – Benefits of cork closure
There is something very romantic about opening a bottle of wine with a classic cork. Many get great pleasure in the ceremonial process of opening a bottle with a cork. Cork is the traditional method for sealing a wine bottle and has been around since the 1400’s. Cork is widely used because it is flexible and can take the shape of any wine bottle. Many appreciate cork for its natural elements as it is recyclable and biodegradable. Cork has also proven to have a long term aging potential.
The cons for cork closures
The drawback of using cork is that a small amount of cork sealed bottles are affected by 2,4,6- trichloroanisole (TCA) or otherwise known as cork taint. Cork taint can cause a bottle of wine to taste funky and moldy. 1-3% of wines with cork closures are affected by TCA. Another downside to cork closure is the use of synthetic corks to reduce cost. This can impart unnatural flavors onto the wine.
Screw cap – Benefits of screw cap closure
Screw caps have only been around for approximately 50 years and these closures were initially reserved for jug wines. The use of screw caps for bulk wines resulted in the modern-day perception that “all” screw caps are used for cheap wines. Today you will find great wines being bottled with screw caps. Ten years ago there was a renaissance with wine closures. Countries like New Zealand and Australia started to consistently use screw caps, even for high-end wines.
Screw caps might prevent your wine from spoiling. Science has evidence that screw caps may better preserve your wines since screw caps do not allow oxygen to penetrate the bottle. This lack of oxygen allows the wine to stay fresh and lively. The best part about opening wines with screw caps is that is doesn’t require fiddling with a complicated corkscrew. Screw caps become the convenient choice for traveling, picnics or outdoor barbecues.
The cons for screw cap closures
There is something very elegant about opening a bottle of wine with a screw cap that may take away from the experience of a special bottle. Many also argue that screw cap closures do not allow the wine to breathe in the bottle and therefore, do not allow for the natural flavors and aromas to develop over time.
What’s the verdict?
Rest assured that the next time you are shopping for wine, screw caps are just as acceptable and may even be a better choice for long term aging. If you are looking to age a bottle of screw cap wine you will consistently get better long term aging potential. Keep in mind, ultimately what matters the most when choosing wine is simply the taste.