This is a never-ending debate within the wine industry and a war in our heads when we are trying to purchase a bottle of wine. The science behind choosing that bottle for the right occasions could make our eyes water already. And here I am now, adding another question to ask ourselves, to increase the headache! Cork or Screw Cap? Let’s have a glass of wine, calm down and actually see this from both perspectives. Just as you can’t judge a book by its cover, you should never judge a wine by its method of closure.
When does the enjoyment of a glass of wine begin? When you take the first sip? When you swirl it round in the glass and pretend you know what you are doing? Actually, it begins when you hear the cork being pulled from the bottle. Opening the cork is a ceremony enjoyed by most of us. The sound ‘pop’, as the cork leaves the bottle is music to our ears. All this is part of the ceremony of serving and enjoying a good bottle of wine.
There is something romantic and ceremonial about opening a bottle that is closed with a cork. The ritual helps the classic cork retain its dominance, even in the face of competition.
The corks life is quite simple. Once the Cork Oak reaches 25 years old, (yes, cork trees are real and they have a fancy name-Quercus Suber ) in Iberian Peninsula and North Africa, cork harvesters(yep, that’s a real job), use sharp axes to slice off the outer bark of the tree, leaving the inner wood unharmed. Over the next nine years, the outer bark slowly regenerates before the next axing begins. To actually make the corks, slices of the tree bark are boiled to remove impurities and dried until they can be pressed into bottles.
When you think of Screw Caps you may think of water, gin, vodka, and even caps for jars with pickles, but not wine. Screw caps were first introduced in the late 1950’s, the new closure was widely adopted in Australia and New Zealand. The study found that screw caps best preserved the fruit aromas and flavours in wines. They are less expensive for wineries and, ultimately, us consumers. It's a win win situation I must say.
Screw caps can be open with a simple twist of your wrist. There’s no need for any gadgets or technology apart a free hand and a little muscle. And you can always twist it back easily on the bottle for later.
Let’s not complicate this topic further because what matters most is the quality of the wine that it’s in the bottle. If we could just get over the shame that a screw cap offers inferior quality, life would be easier especially when we are trying to impress someone by buying them a bottle of wine (click below for ideas).
''At the end of the day, you really can’t make a wrong choice.
As long as you pay attention to what it is that you don’t like about a wine
each bottle will get you closer to what you do like.
Take it one glass at a time!''