There has been a long debate among wine lovers and winemakers as to what is the best way to seal your wine to ensure it stays good until you are ready to drink it. Historically, wooden and glass wine stoppers were used until the "almighty natural cork" replaced them when symmetrical glass wine bottles were created. Now, screw caps and synthetic corks have hit the market starting the great cork debate of which wine closure is better. True in all debates, there are pros and cons to each method. We are covering some of the benefits of using natural corks because that is what we use in our wine making.
1. Let Me Breathe
Like people, wine needs to breathe! Wine can develop undesirable aromas such as burnt rubber and rotten eggs if the cork doesn't allow for the right amount of oxygen to seep into the bottle.
Who wants to smell that when trying to enjoy a glass of their favourite wine?
That is one of the benefits of using natural cork as it allows the optimal amount of oxygen into the bottle; aging wine to its full potential, while synthetic cork and screw caps do not.
2. Keeping a Tight Seal
Did you know that your wine bottle will expand and contract as temperatures fluctuate?
In Saskatchewan we see our fair share of temperature fluctuations. As mentioned in our blog post, 4 Ways to Properly Store Your Wine, most of us don't have the proper wine cellar that keeps our wine aging at the right and consistent temperature. The benefit of using natural cork is it will expand and contract alongside the bottle to ensure a tight seal; ultimately minimizing leakage and oxidization.
3. Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle
Another benefit is, cork is 100% recyclable. Need we say more! Anything that minimizes waste and supports the natural environment and biodiversity is a huge benefit. So instead of throwing out those corks start recycling them or get creative with them. They make a great wreath or kitchen mat. Pinterest has loads of ideas!
In closing, we often get asked about cork taint, and if this is enough of a deterrent to stop using natural cork. Although cork taint isn't a risk when using synthetic cork and screw caps, it is important to remember that cork taint only happens in about 1-3% of bottles. You are more likely to ruin wine with poor storage.
While there is much information out there about the benefits of using natural cork versus synthetic cork or screw caps, we don't want you to get hung up on what is the most superior wine closure. If you are a winemaker, use what ever you prefer. In fact, most wines aren't meant for long-term aging. Roughly 90% of wines produced are meant to be drank right away. So we don't want you to overthink the great debate of corks too much and just enjoy your wine!
Vintner's Cellar Saskatoon