Over the last few years more wines are appearing with screw caps, but not everyone is a fan, so what are the pros and cons of these two closures?
- Corks are a very green choice, due to the fact that they are a renewable resource as the trees are not killed when the bark is stripped to make cork and they are biodegradable.
- One of the big reasons people are ‘pro-cork’ is down to the fact that it is the traditional way of sealing wine, and a screw cap can’t compare with the drama and romance of popping a cork out of a bottle! A cork screw is still seen as an integral part of the wine drinking process.
- It is also the best way to close wines that are meant to be aged, as its porous nature allows the wine to breath. This applies in particular to red wines.
- Some of the stricter Old World regions don’t allow the use of anything but a cork closure.
- Reportedly 3-5% of global wine is said to be ‘corked’. This happens when the wine reacts with a substance called 2,4,6 – Trichloroanisole (TCA), which is caused by the chlorine in the cork reacting with the mold that sometimes grows in them.
- Corks can often be very hard to get out of the bottle causing little bits of it to get into the wine.
- Cheap wines are often stoppered with cheap cork and these are more likely to have some taint.
- Whilst cork is recyclable there are only so many cork boards you need around the house. Plus it takes a lifetime to break down naturally and ultimately most people throw them in with their general household rubbish.
SCREW CAP (STELVIN)
- The big pro is that screw caps stop a wine from becoming ‘corked’, and they don’t allow the wine to be oxidised which can happen when synthetic corks are used.
- Better for short to medium term storage and drinking.
- White wines especially benefit from screw caps as they keep the wine fresh, promote consistent ageing and maintain flavour.
- Screw caps are also easy to remove, wherever, whenever – no need for a cork screw or the more adventurous ‘shoe-tapping’ technique!
- Even restaurants, who were among the last to embrace screw caps, are now asking for their house wines to be sealed with stelvins.
- On the off-chance that you manage to resist finishing off the whole bottle, a screw cap is better at resealing the open bottle.
- Some wineries use only screw caps and nothing else, such is their belief in stelvin.
- When companies first switched over from cork to stelvin they saw a massive drop in complaints about the quality of the wine.
- Screw caps imply environmental issues associated with the loss of cork farming.
- Stelvins, whilst recycled in some areas, are for the most part thrown away with the general rubbish.
In France screw caps have met the most resistance but recently winemakers have started to use screw caps on their wines, especially some of their high end ones. Chateau Margaux have even been doing tests with their wines using screw caps. With one debate for the use of cork being that due to its porous nature it allows the wine to breathe and therefore age well, Chateau Margaux’s results could prove significant if in years to come these test wines are still shown to have aged well and be of the expected high quality.
Are you fiercely fighting for a favourite? Or are you normally too excited about getting your favourite bottle open that how it’s sealed is not that important to you? Is the cork vs. screw cap debate only something wine trade aficionados actually care about? Maybe, you are quite happy for both to be used as you feel each have their advantages depending on the wine? LET US KNOW!