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Cork vs Screwtop: Which is Better for Wine?

Cork vs Screwtop: Which is Better for Wine?


If you’ve been drinking wine for a long time, you’ve probably noticed that screw tops are no longer the sign of a budget wine you’d be wise to avoid. In fact, premium winemakers are turning increasingly to the once-shunned sealing technique to keep their wines at peak condition. 


However, the question remains, what is the best method of bottling? Are screw tops a cost-saving technique, or is there merit to using this more modern technique? The answer isn’t black and white, but we’ll try our best to give a clear answer in this blog.

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Is Corking Better than Screw Tops?


The short answer is, it depends. Each technique boasts specific advantages, and it depends entirely on the kind of wine in question. In fact, many winemakers use different techniques depending on the particular product in question in order to let each wine reach its full potential. 


For example, screw tops are generally considered superior for most white wines or red wines that are supposed to be drunk ‘young’ (aka, wines that are not supposed to develop over time through ageing). 


This is because the screwtops provide a more effective seal, meaning oxygen cannot be exchanged and the wine remains fresher and crisper, two traits that are synonymous with white wines and some reds.


However, for red wines that are intended to develop and age over time, corking is absolutely vital. The porous nature of natural cork allows oxygen to enter the bottle, oxidising the tannins and smoothing the flavour profile. 


In summary, the choice of how a winemaker seals the bottle depends on how they intend the wine to be stored and enjoyed - it’s not a cost-saving technique, nor a mark of quality.


Convenience vs Tradition and Ceremony


Another less objective difference between screwtop and corked wine is that it affects the ceremony and tradition. Although it may not directly influence the flavour, the process of opening and pouring wine can affect enjoyment. 


For some people, this is a non-issue. If screwtops help you get the delicious wine that thirty seconds faster then that’s the only thing that matters - after all, who wants to wait longer than necessary for a glass of delicious wine!?


However, there’s something to be said for the process of unveiling and uncorking a bottle of vino. Whether sharing with a partner, entertaining friends, or just pouring a glass for some end-of-week relaxation, the process of using a corkscrew to free the contents inside can really add to your wine-drinking experience. 


So perhaps there is more to it than the science behind wine flavour. Whether you want a screw top or corked wine is, to some extent, subjective. Some people might describe this as placebo, but placebo can be incredibly powerful.


In Summary…


To put it briefly, screw tops are ‘better’ at sealing wines, although this isn’t necessarily a good thing for many wines which should be aged. However, for the average consumer which isn’t likely to have wine on their shelf or in their cellar for a significant amount of time, screw tops really don’t have a downside other than being a bit less dramatic than a ceremonial uncorking!


So, unless you’re an expert wine aficionado, we wouldn’t suggest you worry about it. Screw tops aren’t a mark of poor quality like they used to be, and are in many cases the superior option. 


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