Are screw caps better than corks?

  • Monday, Day 12/07/2021
  • Are screw caps better than corks?

    Before answering, let's find out what are the differences between these two types of buttons? How do they affect wine?

    Are screw caps better than corks?
    Are screw caps better than corks?

     

    Wine cork

    First, wine cork (also known as natural cork) is the most traditional form of bottling wine, and they have been used for hundreds of years. The cork is made from the bark of the oak tree and is considered a great companion to wine.

    Advantages:

    The cork has an elastic feature, which prevents the wine from spilling out. In addition, a small amount of oxygen can pass through them into the wine to help the wine matures in the bottle, which is ideal for wines that need a long time to develop in flavor.

    WeWine-natural-wine-cork
    Natural wine cork of Chateau Lynch Moussas

     

    Weakness:

    However, natural cork is susceptible to the smell of cork (also known as Cork Taint) – Cork taint is formed by the compound 2,4,6 -trichloroanisole (TCA). When the cork is contaminated with this compound, the wine will take on an unpleasant aroma that resembles damp cardboard. According to research, TCA is estimated to affect 1-5% of world wine production.

    (Explore more about wine corks here)

     

    Screw Cap

    Next, let's explore the screw cap. On the contrary to the long history of wine corks, screw cap is a new invention.

    In 1964, Peter Wall, the former director of Yalumba winery, encountered the big problem that his wines easily had "Cork Taint" smell. He collaborated with a French company to research and develop a new type of wine closure. After a period of research, the crown was officially born with the name "Stelvin". By the end of 1970, the crown was patented and widely licensed. Over 40 years later, they have rapidly grown to become the top choice for the majority of wineries in Australia and New Zealand.

    Advantages:
    The first advantage that we feel is that thanks to the knob we can easily open and close the wine bottle. We only need to open with a simple twist of the wrist, so in this case a wine opener becomes unnecessary.

    Second, all bottles are identical in quality, as TCA cannot exist in the crown. In addition, oxygen cannot penetrate the cork through the cork, which means that the wine does not age too quickly.

    Costs can vary depending on the quality and needs of the customer. However, they are still more affordable than natural buttons.

    Weakness:
    Most knobs are made from recycled aluminum, but they are non-biodegradable, and in the manufacturing process generate about 70 million tons of waste annually, which affects the air and water source. Besides, the plastic inner lining is made of Polyvinylidene chloride (PVDC), a plastic that is not durable and toxic when burned. However, Amcor company has successfully researched and improved a type of screw without PVDC, aiming to be recyclable.

    Compared to the above advantages, oxygen that cannot pass through the screw also has its disadvantages because it limits the wine's maturation in the bottle.

    There is also an opinion from a famous winery in Australia, who also expressed the opinion that: the crown is good for the development of the wine. Specifically, we have the "Art Series Chardonnay" white wine from the Leeuwin Estate, which regularly receives high praise from reputable winemakers (twice in Wine Spectator's Top 100, Top 100). good bottle of James Halliday, ...), with the ability to store in good conditions can be up to 10 to 15 years or more. All of the winery's product lines use knobs. One more example, from St Hallett winery located in the Barossa Valley, they also use crowns for high-end wines (St Hallett Blackwell Shiraz, St Hallett Old Block Shiraz, ...).

    Dòng vang trắng “Art Series Chardonnay” đến từ nhà Leeuwin Estate sử dụng nút vặn, đạt nhiều điểm cao
    Dòng vang trắng “Art Series Chardonnay” đến từ nhà Leeuwin Estate sử dụng nút vặn, đạt nhiều điểm cao

    Now, winemakers from the Bordeaux and Burgundy regions have also tested the crown for their products. Specifically, André Lurton is a famous wine producer in Bordeaux, also used the crown for 1,000 cases of Château Couhins – Lurton 2013 white wine (in the Graves Cru Classé ranking), 1,000 cases of Château La Louviere 2003. Pessac – Léognan, and 18,000 cases of Château Bonnet. Château Margaux (First Class Grand Cru Classé 1855) is also conducting crown trials for small volumes of Pavillon Rouge wines. Or in Burgundy, famous wineries such as Alex Gambal, Jean-Claude Boisset also use crowns for some of their products. That said, winemakers who have traditionally used cork have also become more open to corkscrews.

    In a nutshell, wineries will choose to use the right type of cork or cork for their wine.

    - You should choose cork if you want to find a aged wine because oxygen helps the wine to mature in the bottle.

    - You should choose a knob if you like convenience, and stability when storing for a long time in your cellar.

    At WeWine, wine is sold using both cork and corkscrew. Call 1900 636 749 for advice on the most suitable product for you.

    Review part 1 What is a cork here.

    Sommelier Truong Le Nhu Uyen

    References:

    • https://www.carlswinevault.com/corks-vs-screw-caps-whats-best-for-wine-storage
    • https://www.foodandwine.com/news/screw-cap-wine
    • https://www.winemag.com/2019/04/23/wine-closures-pros-cons/
    • https://www.winespectator.com/articles/bordeaux-burgundy-producers-take-screw-caps-for-a-test-drive-22081
    • https://www.tasteofhome.com/article/cork-vs-screw-cap-wine/
    • https://www.masterclass.com/articles/wine-101-what-are-the-differences-between-corks-and-screw-tops - what-are-the-differences-between-corks-and-screw-tops