The Cork Debate Continues
Winostuff’s Wino Bob provided our visitors with an exhaustive study of the
debate between cork and plastic stoppers among wine producers.
As you may recall, somewhere between 3-6% of all wines bottled with
natural corks spoil prematurely due to issues with the chemical reaction of
bacteria on natural corks (known as cork taint or TCA).
Bob’s debate fueled the fire because I’ve read two articles in recent
editions of Wine Enthusiast and the Wine Spectator.
The authors of both articles cite an initiative in New Zealand whereby 28
wine producers have banded together to form the New Zealand Screwcap Wine Seal
Initiative. According to a
spokesperson for the group, screwcaps have been proven and reliable for sealing
wine for the last 20 years. Evidently,
the UK wine importers of New Zealand’s winecap wineries are readily embracing
this type of wine seal, but US importers are not.
At the same
time that New Zealand producers are embracing screwcaps, the Australian Wine
Research Institute found that screwtop-sealed bottles retain the greatest
percentage of carbon dioxide of any wine bottle sealing methodology.
What that means is that the lovely odor of rotten eggs (remember high
school chemistry) wafts out of your Lafite Rothschild upon opening, but…blows
off quickly into the atmosphere. More
importantly, the Australian research questions whether or not the airtight seal
provided by screwcaps would affect wine aging, a question that could take years
Before our Wino
Bob chimes in on this debate again, I’ll provide a comment or two.
While screwcaps may be successful in that beer pub dominated society in
the UK (and I’m sure I’ll here about that comment from UK Winos), the US
consumer associates screwcaps with products like Boone’s Farm, Ripple, and
Annie Greenspring. Sutter Home
White Zinfandel was bottled many years ago with a screwcap enclosure and their
marketing people determined a change was necessary in order to improve sales.
I can’t think of anyone I know, male or female, who would think of
buying wine for their spouse, date, or significant other and would choose a
screwcap sealed bottle. If you
disagree, let me know. Wino Bob,