There is a long-standing belief in the wine world that screw cap wines are inferior or indicative of a cheap product. And while some affordable wines come with a screw cap, we see more recently that screw caps, not corks, may be better at preserving certain types of wine.
But we can’t deny the fun and excitement we feel when we pop a cork from one of our favorite bottles of wine.
Let’s talk about screw cap versus cork wine.
Cork Wine Pros
Corks have been the preferred method for wine bottle closures for centuries. Because it is a natural and porous material, cork wine is gradually introduced to tiny amounts of oxygen over time.
In the case of red wine, this can be beneficial for the flavor and preservation of these complex additions to your cellar. They also create an incredibly tight seal in your wine bottle – which aids in the preservation as well. Corks are a great way to keep wine sealed over a long aging period – even decades or more.
There are several different cork styles. You may have felt the difference if you are a regular wine drinker. Some corks are 100% natural and made from cork trees, and others have fillers like glue and cork dust added to create a denser cork.
Like anything, the cork quality can drastically alter your wine’s freshness, flavor, and bouquet.
Screw Cap Wine Pros
Screw caps have been used since the 1950s and 60s and are usually made of aluminum with a plastic inner liner.
One pro of the screw cap bottling method is that they don’t let in any oxygen. Screw cap wines can also reduce spoiling (“wine faults”) and are easier to reseal and return to enjoy later. They also aren’t affected by cork taint.
They are also more cost-effective than corks, allowing many manufacturers to reduce costs on the back end to offer their wine to customers at a lower price. This is likely where the stigma around screw cap wines being “cheap” or “inferior” likely started.
Cork Wine Cons
Since we discussed the pros of cork wine, let’s talk about the cons as well. Corks are a more expensive closing material for wine. Their price also depends on the quality and makeup of the corks – natural cork will typically be more costly than synthetic or partially synthetic alternatives.
Between 1 and 3 percent of all cork wines are affected by TCA, or cork taint. This stems from another con of cork – the quality varies drastically, as most items made from natural resources do. We’ve all opened a bottle of wine, and only half the cork came out. This is due to, among other things, the use of a lower-quality cork tree to make the corks.
Also, while corks allow your wine to breathe over time, they don’t do this at a specific rate. Because the density of corks varies, each cork lets a slightly different amount of oxygen through.
Screw Cap Wine Cons
Screw caps also have some downsides. First, screw caps are made of aluminum. This non-biodegradable substance is becoming a more and more important feature of preferred products and services.They can also create a “flint struck” or metallic taste in the wine.
Screw Cap vs. Cork Wine Usage
In the past, cork wines allowed a small amount of oxygen into the wine bottle. Still, as technology and materials evolve, screw cap wines can also have this feature. How a bottle and its stopper or cap are designed can vary widely, based on bottle and cap shapes, contents, and much more.
There are a few general rules regarding why winemakers choose cork versus screw cap. Corks are most beneficial when used to preserve dark or fuller-bodied red wines that are meant to be aged slowly before drinking.
Screw caps can be used for any wine, but they work best on wines that are supposed to be drunk young, especially whites, fruity reds, and sweeter wines. You can still use a screw cap for high-quality wines with a longer aging process – New Zealand uses screw caps on 90% of their wines.
Vinloq Can Help Preserve Cork Wine, Screw Caps, and More
Whether you are a connoisseur of fine vintage reds or just on a budget and in the mood for a light-bodied white, Vinloq is here to preserve and Slow Decant™ the wines you love, from the bottom shelf to the top.
The screw cap and the cork are just barriers to the delicious fun within – chuck them to the side and enjoy your favorite wines at your pace without worrying about waste.
While some wine preservation systems can only be used on cork wines, Vinloq works equally well on cork and screw cap wines.