Are screw tops better than cork?

Answered by Tom Adger

In my personal experience, I have found screw caps to be a convenient and reliable alternative to traditional corks. When it comes to preserving wine, screw caps have been shown in some studies to actually do a better job than corks. This is because screw caps create a tight seal, preventing oxygen from entering the bottle and causing oxidation.

One of the advantages of screw caps is their ease of use. Unlike corks, which often require a corkscrew or other tools to open, screw caps can be easily twisted off by hand. This makes opening a bottle of wine quick and hassle-free, especially when you’re in a hurry or don’t have access to a corkscrew.

Another benefit of screw caps is their ability to be tightly closed. Once opened, a screw cap can be easily screwed back on, ensuring a secure seal and preventing any leakage. This is particularly advantageous if you only want to enjoy a glass or two of wine and want to save the rest for later.

However, it’s important to note that screw caps do have their drawbacks as well. One of the main concerns is their impact on the aging process of wine. Corks, being a natural material, allow a small amount of oxygen to enter the bottle over time. This oxygen exchange can contribute to the development and complexity of flavors in the wine as it ages. Screw caps, on the other hand, create a more airtight seal, limiting the wine’s exposure to oxygen. This can result in a wine that may not age and evolve in the same way as one sealed with a cork.

It’s also worth mentioning that there is still some debate among wine enthusiasts and experts about the use of screw caps. Some argue that certain wines, especially those intended for long-term aging, may benefit from the gradual and controlled oxygen exchange provided by corks. Others believe that the advancements in screw cap technology, such as those with micro-perforations or liners that allow for minimal oxygen transfer, can mitigate this issue.

Ultimately, the choice between screw caps and corks comes down to personal preference and the type of wine being sealed. For everyday drinking wines that are meant to be enjoyed within a few years, screw caps can offer convenience and reliability. However, for wines that are intended for long-term aging and development, traditional corks may still be the preferred choice.