There is a small but growing debate in the wine world of today between cork and screw caps for wine bottles. Wine has historically and traditionally been capped with cork stoppers, hence the peculiar spiral gadget uniquely utilized for opening wine. However, this provides for more difficulty and risk in opening a bottle of wine. Cork can, for instance, sever in the opening process leaving bits of cork in the wine itself, or a cork stub at the mouth of the bottle rendering it, in some cases, impossible to open.

Major wine producing regions of the world are in fact holding onto cork. Spain, for instance, has passed a law which requires wineries in the 11 top wine producing regions to close with cork. In Argentina as well you would be hard pressed to find any bottle of wine not closed with cork. At our wine tastings in Buenos Aires, people ask about the debate and the prospect of using screw caps. Such tastings turn out to be, as expected, sources of true wine traditionalists who understand and appreciate the history, tradition, and uniqueness of cork stoppers for wine. No one seems to mind its subtly more difficult opening process.

Some pros and cons in the debate are as follows:

Wine cork pro: Cork is a renewable resource composed of suberin, a hydrophobic substance providing elasticity, buoyancy, and impermeability, and grown on tree trunks in certain forests. It is biodegradable and provides for an entire industry of products.

Wine cork con: Some 1-20% of all wine is deemed “corked,” or, damaged by a problematic cork.

Screw cap pro: Easily removed and less expensive than traditional or plastic corks. Screw caps avoid the issue of cork taint in wine as well.

Screw cap con: Using screw caps implies environmental issues associated with the loss of cork farming.

To read further into this debate and even check out theories on plastic wine corks, simply search online or visit http://www.foodandbeverageunderground.com/Wine-Cork.html.

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