Wine Cork vs. Screw Top: Which is Best?

wine corks spilling out of wine glass

In the world of wine, the whole cork vs. screw top debate is sort of a big issue. While corks have been used for just about 400 years, they are not always the best way to seal a bottle of wine. Due to the cork’s porous nature, there’s an issue of “corked wine,” which is a pretty common occurrence when the cork actually gets moldy, making the wine undrinkable. But cork has many pros too.

To Cork or Not to Cork

Corks are Bark

Yeah, of course, it’s porous – it’s bark – but because of this, it plays an important role in the aging process. Some experts have said that while screw caps eliminate the problems with fungi, all wines that are stored in a cellar should be corked (cork bark stopper) allowing further fermentation to take place. So, wines that don’t require aging or oxygenation after bottling are choice candidates for screw tops.

Eco-Friendly vs. Manufacturing Cost

But, while both serve to preserve, one is much less environmentally friendly than the other. Harvesting cork is generally regarded as very easy on old mother earth and the trees usually live for over 200 years. Unlike many other industries that use tree products, cork extractions leave Cork Oaks standing tall. The cork is stripped from the bark about once every ten years, a process which according to ISO 14040 Results produces 26 times less CO2 than that of twist-off caps. But however eco-friendly corks may be, screw caps are usually a bit cheaper, making them a desirable option.

If it’s Not Broke, Don’t Fix it

Winemaking is seen as a sacred process by many – a tradition not to be tampered with. And while new inventions may seem better, many adhere to the saying, “if it’s not broke, don’t fix it”. But both bottling options do have pros and cons. So instead of completely disregarding one of them, perhaps we should embrace the new as well as the old and realize that everything has its place in the ripe world of wine.

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