Just the other day I had a customer come up to me and request a bottle of wine that had light tannins and flavors of red fruit. As I gave her my best suggestion, which was a bottle of Lola Pinot Noir, she seemed to be a bit uneasy. She was somewhat taken by surprise at the fact that the bottle I suggested was a screw top, instead of the classic cork. In this day and age where there is so much technology behind the winemaking process, I was shocked that this was still an ongoing debate.
As I proceeded to tell her that a bottle having a screw top or cork does not matter anymore, she shook her head in disbelief and went on to find another bottle with her specifications. Since this incident, I have obligated myself to spread the word about corks versus screw tops … and the fact is, it does not matter!
Now, answer this honestly, how often do you take wine home for long-term aging? Well if you do this at all, I applaud you for your self-restraint, but most of us take the bottle home to drink within the week or so. Because we open the bottle, almost immediately, the concern of screw top versus cork should not be an issue.
You may be asking ‘Hannah, how can you be so certain?’, well other than the fact that my parents and coworkers have taught me a majority of what I know about wine, I have done my research. So lets think about the pros and cons of screw tops and corks …
Easier and more affordable to make
Has a tight seal, which inhibits the ability of oxidation
Easier to open
No danger of cork taint
Has not been efficiently tested for long-term aged wines
Proven to be better for aged wines
Allows the wine to breathe because of the small pores
Widely and historically more popular
Bad for the environment
Has the chance of forming TCA (trichloroanisole) … the “musty” flavor and smell that taints the bottle
Allows for the wine to breath, which may increase the chance of cork taint
If you find yourself in the position where you are wondering if you should you opt for the cork versus the screw top wine bottle, stop yourself and instead consider flavors, regions, and aromas. To those who still are not sold on screw tops, you are missing out on some fabulous wine!