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May 27, 2012 08:45 PM

Cork or screw cap ?

I am a novice to wine. I enjoy wine from the screw cap . But there is something about using the corkscew I like. Removing the seal, positioning the screw and twisting, using the lever to pry the cork out. Much more fun than a screw cap ,not that there's anything wrong with the cap. But if you had your choice wich do you like? I really like the ritual.

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  1. Most good wines breathe a little through the cork and that does not happen with a screw cap.

    5 Replies
    1. re: kagemusha49

      Most scientists say that the need for a cork to breathe is a myth and there is enough air in the bottle between the top of the fill and the cork. Some people argue otherwise, but it looks like science is on the side of the "it doenst help the wine age" debate, with the other side using mostly anecdotal evidence. I really don't know what to think on that matter because a lot of people who know a lot more about wine than me are on both sides of the issue.

      etc etc etc

      As to the OP's question, I too am a huge fan of the wine ritual. I definitely lose something in the experience with screw caps. Given the choice Id always take a good bottle with a cork over a good bottle with a screw cap. The problem to winemakers is that cork is responsible for a lot of damaged wine. Its a very clouded issue for sure!

      I think for wines meant to be drank relatively young screw caps and synthetic corks are definitely the way to go as far as whats better for the wine, but for long term cellaring I think the jury is still out.

      1. re: twyst

        Previous discussions of cork and screwcap closures that might be
        helpful/instructive/surprising/illuminating/fill in blank:

        Twyst, your statements and the links you've posted contain erroneous information.

        Screwcap wines develop problems, too, just like cork-closed wines. Scewcap wines are not at all immune from "cork taint," especially when a high percentage of cork taint is actually cellar taint.

        Scientific citations on oxygen ingress are in some of the threads, if you're interested, as I gather you are from your post.

      2. re: kagemusha49

        Does the seal applied over the cork and to the bottle neck allow the wine to breathe ?

        1. re: emglow101

          The seal is not airtight and I think it's there to keep bugs from attacking the cork.

          1. re: emglow101

            originally the capsule was made of lead. rats in the cellar were eating the cork. if they ate the lead they died. now they are not made of lead and and are for appearance only.

        2. Yesterday while opening a Merlot the cork cracked and I had to push the remaining broken piece down into the wine to enjoy it. Hence the screw cap is starting to appeal more & more.

          And the plastic or waxed corks I see often open with a bit more pressure applied to the wine opener but work like a charm as well.

          5 Replies
          1. re: HillJ

            I've been running across glass "corks" as well. Very easy to remove, recyclable, and hopefully wonks won't hem and haw over it too much.


            1. re: bulavinaka

              ...which isn't a glass cork at all, but a glass carrier for an "inert" seal (which is made of what, I wonder? When they don't say, it always raises my suspicions....)

              Haven't seen that one yet....

              1. re: sunshine842

                The seal seems to be some sort of silicon. The initial pull to remove it is just a little harder than subsequent tries. When reinserting the glass, it feels almost as if it's being pulled back into the neck of the bottle. It is watertight.

                Edit: forgot to mention that the most recent wine I purchased that had this sealing device was a California Pinot Noir. 2007 Surh Luchtel from Umino Vineyard in the Russian River Valley.


              2. re: bulavinaka

                I have had a few of those recently too.

                I saved them and re use them for "corking" my pop,beer or mineral water bottle (in the fridge) if I don't finish the whole bottle. Very handy :)

                1. re: sedimental

                  D'Oh! Missed opportunity on my part - thanks for the tip...

            2. I was talking to a winemaker a few months ago, and he said he originally started bottling his wine (white wine in this case) with screw caps, it was easier, cheaper, and this was a white that should be drank within a year or two anyway, so the aging issues didn't matter.

              He had such an overwhelmingly negative response to the release with the screw cap, that he switched to corks. Apparently people had a negative reaction, and for whatever reasoning, or mind trick, it all lead back to people liking the taste better when it had a cork.

              In the US, at least, many consumers associate screw caps with cheap wine.

              5 Replies
              1. re: goldangl95

                I agree. It's really too bad that the screw cap has a 'cheap wine' association in the US.
                The screw cap is by far the _ideal_ closure for a wine bottle. Just because the cork is traditional doesn't make it better.
                Fortunately, some makers of quality wines are seeing the light (albeit slowly) and switching to screw caps, and saying 'screw it' to using corks.

                1. re: The Professor

                  I don't make that association at all. IOW, I wouldn't not buy a wine because of a screw cap but many of the wines I enjoy don't use screw caps. It takes a long time to find wines that I really love enough to buy religiously.

                2. re: goldangl95

                  The closure has to be chosen for the individual wine. Screwcaps are best with white wines, wines meant to be drunk young, and with certain varietals that react more favorably from a chemical standpoint with reduction. The reductive aromas that can develop in white wine closed with screwcaps are quite real and change the wine's appeal dramatically.

                  Red wines, wines meant to be aged, and wines that absolutely cannot be exposed to reduction are better with corks. Expensive wines are usually closed with corks, partly because expensive wines are usually meant to be aged.

                  And while screwcaps are convenient, easy and fast, let's not be so quick to dismiss the aesthetics of the cork. The act, the ritual, of pulling a cork is part of the aesthetic experience of enjoying the wine. Aesthetics make a qualitative difference in the experience: striking a wooden match rather than using a lighter; using cloth napkins rather than paper; eating off china rather melamine; etc.

                  1. re: maria lorraine

                    Very often, aesthetics equal affectation. corks are mainly used because of tradition. Writers use to prefer typewriters to word processing but times change. Plastic and composite corks work well also but get much the same negative views. the bottle is a container, the cork, a stopper. The wine is the thing.

                    1. re: budnball

                      Completely, utterly, wholeheartedly, overwhelmingly disagree with this statement:
                      "Very often, aesthetics equal affectation."

                      Aesthetics offer an ocean of sensory data and enhancement.

                      If there is affectation, that is the result of an affected person or choices inappropriate to the situation, not the aesthetics themselves.

                      You can choose to appreciate aesthetics or not, or to include them in your life or not. There is an aesthetic difference of experience between striking a wooden match and using a lighter. Cloth napkins while dining have a different aesthetic than paper napkins while dining. In each example, both choices get the job done, but the nature of the experience is different.

                      Pulling a cork is a different aesthetic experience than twisting off a cap.

                      And yet, both closures have their appropriate use.

                      I do agree that the wine is the most important thing when it comes to wine aesthetics.

                3. I would much prefer the screw cap but alas not many wines have advanced to the 21st century.

                  I do like the cork with sparkling wines, because I am really good at de-corking sparkling wines and I get to show my stuff.

                  1. a few years ago, my boyfriend and i were vacationing at a ski resort in vermont, and had been drinking bottles of wine by the hot tub. we got back to the condo, and tried to open another bottle. he tried and tried and tried to force the corkscrew in, and we finally made do with pouring the wine out of the hole that we made.

                    it was pretty funny when we woke up the next morning and in our sober (and hungover) clarity, realized we had been trying to open a screwcap bottle with a corkscrew...

                    3 Replies
                      1. re: jamieeats

                        My wife has some eyesight issues in poor light and there have been a couple of times when she's done this sober. The epithets coming from the darkish kitchen are pretty funny.

                        1. re: Midlife

                          Ah, the problems with various closures.

                          I have dulled more than one "foil cutter," when it was a Stelvin-type closure. I have also had to take the "knife" in my waiter's friend, to cut through the tiny tabs on a Stelvin-type closure, when I could not break them, with a twist.

                          I have also found that no worm will penetrate a glass closure!