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 Filed as : Wine Tips

The Great Debate: Screw Cap or Cork

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  • Publish Date: Jul 24, 2009

Cork or Screw Cap? Historically it was considered poor form to serve wine from a bottle with a screw cap. But that reputation is no longer deserved, as proven by our friends in New Zealand, Australia, Spain, and South Africa. Even the French are using screw caps more and more, with great success.

The argument for natural corks (which in fact come from cork trees) is that they are essential for wines in that they allow for a natural gaseous exchange while the bottle ages, enhancing the flavors over time. There is also the indisputable romance of removing a cork from a bottle of wine.

Screw cap fans will retort, however, that 5-10% of bottles with natural corks arrive “corked.” (Technical definition: the wine is overly oxidized or flawed, often due to the presence of a substance called TCA, which is used to sanitize the cork before bottling.) Cork screw advocates also point out that it's much easier to take off a screw cap than to remove a cork, and easier to re-close that rare bottle you do not finish with a screw cap.

So which side of the debate do you fall out on? Weigh in and see what others thought to your right.

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Brewmaster Gone Winemaker

Jul 24, 2009
We spoke to winemaker Fred Scherrer about this a while back and he would not hesitate to put wines under screw cap if he could do so without buying new equipment. His perspective is here:

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Jul 24, 2009
We have started using screw caps for our Surfrider line white wines two years ago, and are so happy with them that we are now going to screw caps for the reds. Still keeping natural cork for our traditional Rosenthal - The Malibu Estate Wines.

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Jul 24, 2009
Opening a corked bottle definitely feels more like an event. Unscrewing a cap is like opening a 2 liter bottle of soda. However, I have several screw capped wines in my chiller, and they are very convenient for picnics, boating, etc. Some wines, especially Australian ones, that are very tasty only come with screw cap, so it would be a folly to completely thumb your nose at the idea.

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Jul 24, 2009
I like the screw cap for wines meant to be drank immediately. Recently read an interesting book on this entire topic called "To Cork or not to Cork" by George Taber, the author of "The Judgement of Paris". If this debate interests you, I recommend checking it out.

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