Wine Corks vs. Screw Caps: The Pros & Cons

The showdown between corks and screw caps is an interesting one. In this article, we will carefully weigh up the positives and negatives of both of these types of caps. You may have your favorite already and are already chanting from grandstand for which one you want to win this showdown, but let’s objectively compare these and see which one is actually better.

Corks have been used to close wine since the early 1400s. its usage is justified by the fact that it is among the few malleable products that are able to securely keep contents within a bottle made from glass. While they have been traditionally used, they have become a subject of much controversy. Many wine experts have started to discuss that corks can cause a chemical reaction within your wine bottle with trichloroanisole. This substance is the product of corks that have been cleaned or purified with the use of chlorine. When this is done mold tends to form on the corks resulting in a flavor that is unpleasant. It has been reported to have something like a moldy or musty flavor when this chemical reaction happens.

The Benefits of Using Corks
We already know that corks are preferred because of their historical significance. However, there are some other reasons that lead people to prefer cork. due to the makeup of corks, they are naturally porous permitting the contained wine to breathe. This allows oxygen into the bottles while allowing other gases to be released. Corks have long been celebrated for their usefulness in long term aging of wine. With the use of a cork and wine refrigerator, your wine will age very well. This may seem trivial, but many people prefer corks because of the sound that it makes when it opens. Screws will never replace that traditional romantic and celebratory sound of a corked wine bottle’s “pop”.

Disadvantages of Wine Corks
Wine bottles with corks tend to be a bit more expensive than screw cap wines. As a matter of fact, they are often twice or three times as expensive as wine bottles that have been closed with screw caps. As mentioned earlier, a large number of wines that are closed with corks cause a chemical reaction with trichloroanisole. This results in a moldy or musty taste. Now, no one wants to be sipping on a cup of fine musty wine. It has been reported that 1 to 3 percent of corked bottled wines are tainted by TCA.

Corks can also be difficult to remove for the inexperienced. They even give the experienced wine connoisseurs a warm time on occasion. One of the major challenges that are experienced when you pull a bottle of wine from your wine refrigerator and make attempt to open it is that when you open it, it often ends up breaking, resulting in pieces of the cork falling into your wine. Other disadvantages of corked wine include that:

  • They are made from a limited natural resource.
  • The quality of corks varies.

Screw Caps
Screw cap wines are relatively new when compared to corks. They have been in use since the 1960s. though they are much younger than their corked counterpart, they have established a comfortable spot in the market. They are very prominent in Australia. The rise of screw cap wines can be credited to the great decrease in the quality of traditional corks back in the 1980s. this drop in quality also gave rise to other wine bottle closing alternatives. These include other plant-derived corks and corks made from plastics.

Benefits of Screw Caps
Screw cap wines are much cheaper than their traditional corked opponent. This makes your spending on wine a lot more manageable on a monthly basis. A major plus with screw caps is that they don’t allow your wine to be affected by TCA. Therefore, you won’t end up with wine that smells musty and moldy. With a screw cap wine, you will definitely be able to enjoy your fine wine. One of the major issues most people have with corked wines is that they are difficult to open. This complaint is not at all applicable to screw cap wines. They are very easy to open and they are also great for covering bottles that have been opened. If you’ve ever tried to seal a bottle using a traditional cork you know that it can be a very difficult task. this difficulty is gone when you purchase screw cap wines.

Disadvantages of Screw Caps
Screw cap wines are not the best option if you are seeking to age wine. This is because screw caps close wine bottles so tight. Many people value the popping sound that they get from opening a bottle with a traditional cork. unfortunately, this sound is completely lost when you purchase a screw cork wine. That romantic and dramatic experience is lost but you still get great tasting wine.

As the world continues to get more and more conscious of the impact that we as humans are making on our environment, the environmental friendliness of products has become vitally important. On this note, a disadvantage of screw caps is that they are typically made from resources that are not renewable. Screw caps can certainly be recycled which does well for our environment; however, they are not biodegradable. While the price of your bottle does not necessarily have a direct relationship with the taste of the wine poured from it, screw cap wines have developed a cheap customer perception. So, If you have a group of friends over and you pull out a screw cap wine from your wine refrigerator to serve them, they may end up thinking you are being cheap and might not value you as a true wine lover.

Which Will You Choose?
Corked wines and screw cap wines are available in abundance and at varying qualities. The choice is in your hands as to which you will purchase. If you are someone who is seeking to keep your wine for a long time, a corked wine may be the right choice; however, you need to be aware of the possible challenge you might have with TCA. If you are not keeping wine for an extended period of time and don’t mind the “cheap” association, you could very well go with screw cap wines. It is up to you.