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Cork vs. Screw Caps. Which is Better?

Ever since screw caps have been introduced to the wine industry they have been controversial.  Each method of sealing a wine bottle certainly has its good and bad points.

Traditional corks are under attack, mostly for the reason that they could allow the wine to become “corked.” That is, the wine reacts with a substance called trichloroanisole. This substance is formed when the corks are sanitized with the chlorine and mold begins to form on some corks causing a musty or moldy flavor. An estimated 5-10% of wines on merchant shelves are “corked.”  They are also not easy to remove sometimes because they end up breaking or crumbling in the wine.  That isn’t to say that cork stoppers are bad. They allow the wine to breathe because their porous nature allows oxygen into the bottle, and other gases out. Another reason why people prefer natural corks is the satisfying “pop” as it comes out of the bottle — a screw cap can’t compare with the drama and romance of a popping a cork out of the a bottle.

Screw caps, on the other hand, seem to be the perfect solution for sealing a bottle of wine. They don’t allow the wine to become “corked” or oxidized and they are easier to remove.  They are also great when you want to seal a bottle already opened as they are more effective than natural corks.  However, they are not good for wines that need to be aged as their seal is too tight and won’t allow the wine to mature properly.

So this leaves us with the question everyone is asking: which is better?  The advantages seem to favor the screw cap as more wine drinkers aren’t storing wines for long periods of time, but natural corks still have their place and mystique. No matter whether it’s sealed with a cap or a cork…a good bottle of wine can liven up any party or meal.

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