Cork vs Screw cap debate



stormhoekwine cork

One of the questions I seem to be asked all the time is “Why use screw caps instead of cork”. Most people seem to associate cork with expensive wine and screw caps with cheap wine, this may have been true 20 or so years ago in the States, but now a days some of the best vineyards in the world are bottling their wines with screw caps. Why?

Well over the last couple of centuries the wine industry has been using more and more cork, however as cork is harvested from trees that are approximately 6 to 9 years old the supply has not managed to keep up with the demand, this has led to a much higher use of pesticides and wood preservatives to get the cork ready sooner. These treatments on the trees are what most people are pointing at to account for the large increase in corked wine.

Corked wine is basically wine that smells and tastes undesirable and the main cause is bad corks. The way this happens is that chemicals (mainly TCA) that can be found in the cork react negatively with the wine and cause the wine to smell and taste bad. If you look at the percentage of wine that is corked you will see the figures sometimes go up to 15%, can you imagine any other industry where this amount of fail rate would be accepted, I doubt it.

Screw caps on the other hand have an almost 0 fail rate (we have been using them since 2004 on our wines and have had no negative feedback), they can also be recycled easily, and have been used to age wine now for many years, even producers in Champagne have aged their wines with screw caps with no told negative impact (most wine is consumed within 24 hours of being bought off the shelf anyway)

For this reason you will find the vast majority of our wine is bottled with screw caps, but if your still keen to use a cork screw, for the meantime you will be pleased to find we still use cork on our reserve range of wines.

(If anyone is wondering about plastic corks they aren’t  great as they are not a memory material so you cant age wine with plastic well, and it can still react negatively with the wine due to the chemicals in the plastic. Also they are very un-eco-friendly)

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