Concha y Toro

Ania Smolec 08/05/2014

Cork or screw cap?


Some consumers have still limited trust in the bottles closed with screw caps. On the other hand, we have the sentiment to the cork because of its tradition.

The screw cap myths

Although the name is “cap”, it is not screwed. The metal plate is pushed over the neck of the bottle with using a special apparatus and then pressed to the grooves on it. Those embossed grooves are then used to open the bottle and close again.

One of the strongest myth is that only less expensive, drink-me-now wines, are enclosed by screw cap. It’s more a psychological barrier, some way we are still sentimental and traditional about wine and cork.

The other argument quoted, is that cork is better because the wine can “breathe” through it. But today, the technology allows producing screw caps with calculated levels of oxygen ingress overtime.

Thus the wines closed with this method do the aging, just differently, remaining fresher for longer, but still displaying the complexity and depth that aging brings.

Why do we love the screw cap?

It is also important that you can freely dispose of the wine; as in the case of wine closed with cork, you should be fairly quickly consume the wine. Under screw cap, after it is opened, wine can be stored in the refrigerator for up to two weeks, and retain their freshness and flavors. Comparing with the centuries of using natural cork, the screw cap is new phenomena. But even, in its fifty years of history, it rapidly became a large share of the market. It is a less expensive way of closing the wine bottles, thus the good quality is available for more consumers.

Some experts claim that the aluminum screw cap wine evolves slowly and is more intense, “cleaner” and fresher flavors and, most importantly, keeps the long qualities of wine. Besides gives a constant – quality wine repeatable in every bottle. Ideally prevents the risk of oxidation.

Why do we love the cork?

1169717_207412202781733_1610428791_nCork has been the preferred choice for closing the wine practically since ever! The cork for wine bottle is made from the bark of a special kind of  Quercus suber tree, commonly called the cork oak.

This bark has different structure from the others trees. It is thick and it’s easy to remove from the tree. Its structure and physic qualities predispose it for a long term aging. Centuries of keeping wines in the caves has proven that phenomena.

The corkscrew, as an icon object, with all its ceremonial of opening the wine, adds value to cultural heritage.

It is a real ritual to pierce the spiral of the corkscrew in the cork, and then pull it out and hear the characteristic sound when the cork leaves the bottle.

When we think about finest wines of Concha y Toro like Don Melchor, a Cabernet Sauvignon with aging potential for decades, it is really difficult to picture anything else but cork closing the noble wine inside the bottle.

But cork can have different qualities. Wines like Don Melchor are corked with the best quality corks, which minimize the risk of defect almost to zero.

How cork can disappoint us?

Yes, natural cork has many qualities, but also has weak points. The most common one is “corked wine”, which means that wine is affected by TCA, provoking unpleasant musty aromas and taste in wine.

Majority of the wines today are elaborated to present consumption and only a small percentage of them are able to age.

Now, that you know a little more about screw cap and corkscrew, which one do you prefer?  The pop of the cork, or the twist of the cap?