Tap the bottle and twist the cap? Corks vs. Screw Caps 2009

Have you ever noticed a bottle of wine with a screw cap get the stink face when it arrives on the scene? There is a perception of cheapness associated with the new kid on the shelf…but is it valid?

Traditionalists and collectors tend to hate the screw caps. A lot of winemakers (especially in New Zealand) love the screw caps. I was curious about some details since this subject sparks some debate in the wine arena.

Some may say the act of uncorking a bottle adds to the romance and experience of enjoying wine. Moving to a screw cap may make you feel like your opening an over-sized bottle of soy sauce and it loses its heritage. However, if you can get past the non-traditional appearance
and current perception, the majority of wine under those screw caps are still delicious, and more select wines are experimenting with them, so get ready. Maybe we should try some blind wine tastings to see if anyone can tell the difference between a bottled wine with a cork, and a bottled
wine with a screw cap. Maybe the visual is messing with us.

So why are winemakers toying with screw caps?

Temperamental corks can destroy a bottle of wine, thus frustrating winemakers. Wine can be “corked” just like beer can be “skunked.” When a wine is referred to as “corked,” it means that it is infected with trichloroanisole - a contaminant that can come from cork and make a wine taste musty, flat, and dank (Source: Food & Wine). It has been reported that up to 8% of available wine on shelves are tainted.  However, let’s keep in mind that corks have been doing ok for a very long time. I’m not ready to shun them.

Synthetic corks entered the scene to help curb the issues with natural corks, but they have well known issues surrounding oxidation and hurt the shelf life of a wine (Source: Wine.About.com)

The evil screw cap seems to be a good solution for the previous issues mentioned above. Despite claims that metal caps can be banged up, leak, or tampered with, it is argued that the aging process, flavor, and freshness of a wine are better protected from the start (Source: Wine.About.com).So, do wineries invest in improving their corks and maintain the dramatic visual, or move toward screw caps?

How about you…what do you like? What would you like to tell the winemaker…Put a cork in it, or go screw?

Please leave your comments below  :)Cheers!
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