Corks are typically the classic choice when it comes to what goes between you and your wine. But, the argument over screw caps and corks is not as black and white as we may think. So, which is better, corks or screw caps? Well, to tell you the truth there is really no right or wrong answer here. Let’s look closer at corks and screw caps and why they are nearly identical when it comes to storing and aging wine.

Corks

Since the beginning of modern Europe way back in 1400 something, corks have been the preferred choice for closing wine. Fun fact, cork bark is one of the few natural products that is malleable enough to hold liquid inside a glass bottle. Today, there are a few key pros and cons to natural cork. Let’s start off with pros. First, corks are a natural renewable resource. Second, they have been historically preferred. Lastly, corks are proven when it comes to aging wine long term.

Now, with every pros list there’s also a cons list that follows suit. To name a few, corks are 2-3x more expensive than other means, they’re technically a limited natural resource, the quality varies, and natural corks breathe at variable rates, which can make the time table for storing wine unpredictable.

Screw Caps

Screw caps came into the wine scene in 1964. Since then, they’ve quickly become a large part of the market. Cork alternatives have become so popular as a result of a decrease in quality in cork manufacturing during the 1980’s. Essentially, winemakers grew tired of low quality corks, so they switched. Screw caps are great because they are a much more affordable option, they still provide positive results for long term storage. Another pro and a reason many people love screw caps is the ease of opening their favorite bottle of wine. On the flip side, some screw caps or cork alternatives don’t breathe, this translate to wine not aging well at all, as wine needs to breathe. Screw caps are also made primarily from non-renewable resources, so they’re recyclable and not biodegradable and they also vary in manufacturing quality. Lastly, some see screw caps as associated with ‘cheap’ wine.

Still, some argue that corks are better because they “breathe” more readily and more consistently. Today, you can get screw caps with calculated levels of ‘oxygen ingress’ overtime. That being said, screw caps are not necessarily better than corks. If anything, for quality of price, cork alternatives can pay off but, one is not necessarily better than the other. In the end, corks and screw caps each have pros and cons and it truly comes down to the winemakers preference.

- Natalie