A “Seal” Of Approval. Cork Or Screw Cap?
Updated: Jun 5, 2019
We all have made snap judgments based on appearance. That’s just human nature. So it’s not surprising that many of us shop for wine but pass over the screw cap option because we think it is cheap (or that the wine with cork is not only better but looks classier). Ah, the great debate.
Is cork better?
In a word: No.
Here’s a fun fact: In the USA, on average, from the time of purchase to the time the wine is opened is about seven hours. Only SEVEN HOURS.
I know others may disagree with me on this one but here’s where I stand. The only reason to choose a wine with a cork instead of a screw cap is because you need to age that wine. Good cork is a unique natural product and because of its tiny holes, it can allow just enough oxygen into the wine gradually, to help that wine mature in bottle (pro tip: always store the bottle on its side and in a cool, consistent temperature).
So, do you really NEED a cork? I realize it has more romance than cracking open a screw cap, but after those three seconds are over, the wine should be the focus, right?
I can hear many of you saying, “Yes, but a screw cap means the wine is of lesser quality than a wine with a cork” and to that I would reply, “Not true.”
If we are being really honest, because cork is a living thing, it is kind of a risk. About one in twelve bottles of wine enclosed with a cork have something called TCA (or cork taint). This basically means a fungus in the cork has changed the wine (and not for the better). If you have ever opened a bottle that smelled like wet dog or damp, moldy basement, that’s cork taint. In addition, good cork is expensive and in limited quantities, so if you are just going to open that wine and drink it anyways, maybe screw cap makes more sense.
Stating the obvious, screw caps are perfect for travel and outdoor events (no opener to remember) and you don’t have to worry about a cork breaking off in the bottle, giving you crippling anxiety.
With environmental changes and the goal of leaving less carbon footprints by moving away from heavy glass, the way we consume wine is changing. Tetra pak, wines on tap, canned wines, etc., will be the future. We have to keep an open mind.
The next time you are shopping for wine, don’t overlook the screw cap option.
Quality and deliciousness come in many forms.