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Real Corks vs. Synthetic vs. Screw Caps!

Falkner still uses real cork. (Photo by Juanita Juarez)

In the wonderful world of wine, we are at an impasse. Wine is a very romantic entity with a long and illustrious past. Wine is entrenched in traditions. The French, Spanish, and Portuguese have created strict laws and codes of conduct regarding wine and all things associated with it. Wine is a pretentious and fickle lady. The wine never lies. However…

So does Leonesse. (Photo by Juanita Juarez)

Everything in life evolves. Modern technology dictates and demands change. Old-fashioned methods move aside and fade into obscurity for newer, innovative, updated versions. It stands to reason that wine should be no different! It comes down to cork vs. synthetics vs. screw caps. Those of us who grew up with Boone’s Farm, Riunite on Ice (“That’s nice!”) and, even, Mad Dog 20 (yikes, did I just admit to knowing about that?! Ok, it was just one New Year’s Eve a long time ago…) know exactly what I’m talking about. How can any serious “wine dream of adorning” be such an exquisite creation with a screw cap?

Synthetic Corks - better than real thing?

When my husband and I first met, I was terribly disappointed to find that he had gasp! “sold out” (in my book), and was using synthetic corks. We debated. He was patient and explained the advantages of using a synthetic cork over a natural cork. Reluctantly, I had to agree that it made sense. And, it still makes the neat little POP! when it’s pulled out AND you still get to use the corkscrew. After all, that’s part of the whole ceremony every time you open a bottle of wine. I was somewhat placated.

Immediately following this discussion, he popped the rest of the story on me….screw caps are the best and most dependable seal you can put on a wine bottle. I fainted.

The fact of the matter is…a screw cap is the most evolved form of packaging wine. It always seals perfectly, doesn’t add or take away from the wine, and won’t lose its integrity over time. Let’s look at the evidence. True corked wine can become…well, CORKED! Did you know that about 1 in 20 bottles pick up a musty, wet cardboard taste from natural cork? How many times have you anxiously opened a long-anticipated bottle of wine to accompany a special meal only to find the cork dried out, it crumbled into your wine, it allowed air to seep in, and now there’s a funky smell and putrid vinegar taste? Now what do you do?

The future of all wine bottles?

We still have far to go on the acceptance of the screw cap. It’s coming, though – prepare yourselves. In the tradition of watching the last steam engine roaring past to giving up your Erica phone for push-button to cell, albums to cassettes to CDs and beyond, the screw caps are coming. Make way for progress.

If I may, let me close with some sage words of advice…love abundantly, savor the moment, live your passion, and, for goodness sake, Don’t Drink Bad Wine!!!!

2 thoughts on “Real Corks vs. Synthetic vs. Screw Caps!

  1. Heya Debbie – Good thoughts. However, I still am one to stick to 100% natural cork. Technical cork – as in the photographs has caused me great heartburn in the past. I would consider screwcap for my white wines down the road. But if you hit our website and look in the “news” section and read the Summer 2010 newsletter you will see I wrote about my attitude and feeling of why I choose the closure I do. I get barely 1% taint – nowhere near 5%.


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