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Wine closures

Wine closures have changed greatly over the last thirty years. New advances in technology have started a trend that could lead to the extinction of the iconic wine cork closure. Now almost everyone has seen wine cork but did you know that there are several new wine closures that are giving the typical wine cork a run for its money.

The typical wine cork has been used as the sealing method of choice for over 400 years. It is a renewable resource since the trees are not killed when the bark is stripped to make cork. They’re readily biodegradable. The typical wine cork can be made from one single piece or from particles of cork. The main reason cork has always been used as a wine closure is that it’s impermeable. Nothing can seep out or in and when the slightest whiff of air can be the difference between a world class wine and a sour mess that matters a great deal. The negative aspect to cork is that wine corks often go bad, as many as 20% of wine is said to be damaged due to a problematic cork.

Natural Cork

A rival to the cork is the plastic cork. The plastic cork is immune to cork taint, so wine is much less likely to spoil and they can be recyclable. The negative aspect to plastic is that if they are not recycled they pose a more direct threat to the environment that the regular cork. Also plastic does not retain its elasticity well over time, m making it unsuitable for wines meant to age for decades.

Screw caps, like plastic corks, solve the problems of cork taint. They are inexpensive and convenient since they can be removed with easily. But as with plastic corks, screw caps are associated with environmental issues due to their disposal.

Natural corks are still used for 80% of all wines so the cork is not extinct yet and even with the environmental arguments and technological advances with purists the cork may never die. In fact, Spain recently passed a law that requires wineries in 11 top wine producing regions to seal their wines with cork. Whether you are a purist or prefer the ease and convenience of a screw cap there is an option for any wine enthusiast.


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