To Cork Or Not To Cork? That Is The Question

Corks have been used to close wine bottles for a long time. They have been pretty much the standard method of closing a bottle since th 18th century. Most wine authorities agree that there are definite benefits to using a cork, particularly when it comes to aging wines. There are some downsides too. Quality corks are more expensive than other stoppers. They require the wine to be stored on its side. Corks can last a very long time but they do degrade over time. Corks can carry bacterial infections that ruin wine.

Alternatives have been developed ranging from composite corks (made up of pieces of cork glued together) to plastic corks, glass stoppers and finally screw tops. Of the alternatives, screw tops are my favorite. Who needs more plastic? Glass is awkward, and the composite corks have all of the negatives and none of the benefits of a real cork. Screw tops are easy to use; are hygienic; and are recyclable. They don’t however allow the very slow exchange of oxygen and the wine that occurs with a cork.

So what’s my call. If you have a wine that should be opened within the first three years after bottling, by all means, please use a screw cap. If you have a wine intended for longer aging, a cork is the way to go.

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