Mark Aselstine
 
June 7, 2014 | Mark Aselstine

Corks or ScrewCaps?

 

Hi there, this is Mark Aselstine from Uncorked Ventures and we just wanted
to say a couple of words about corks versus screw-caps. So there's been a
lot of talk lately, as you probably already know, that Australian wine
makers, and you're starting to see it more in New Zealand as well, have
started going exclusively to screw caps, and that's something that's a
topic of conversation in the California wine industry a lot right now as
well.

So, when you have cork, you have the positives that you definitely know
that the aging potential is there. There's a certain amount of romance with
opening a bottle of wine with a cork versus a screw cap, and I don't think
that the industry should be forgetting that the romance and the aspect of
the wine's a little bit different every time you open it and if you wait a
year or two it's changed inside the bottle, I don't think that's something
that you want to lose.

The big negative, of course, with cork is that cork taint, depending on who
you ask, they tell you that's one to three percent of all bottles. I think
that's getting a little overblown in the statistical side of things. I
think that when you have the professional testers, that might be true.

People have different amounts of cork taint that they pick up based on
their own unique pallet, and at one to three percent I just kind of don't
buy those statistics, in essence because when you talk to consumers and you
say, how many corked bottles have you ever had, when's the last time you've
opened a bottle and you've said, this is corked? Most of you will say, I've
never had one or I don't remember, and at one to three percent, they
should.

Now that's not to say that screw-caps should be discounted entirely.
There's a really good reason for having a screw-cap instead of a cork. If
you have a wine that doesn't need to be aged or a wine that's being made
specifically sold at restaurants or to people that might not have an opener
at home, a screw-cap can be really important.

If I owned a restaurant and it takes 45 seconds to open a bottle of wine
that has a cork versus 7 seconds that has a screw-cap, there's a pretty
easy choice of what's going to be on by the glass list, especially if
you're really busy on a Friday or Saturday night. So, you know, I think
that anybody who says that it has to be one thing or it has to be another
is kind of kidding themselves. There's positives to both and that's without
even going into some of the environmental aspects which is really up for
debate right now.

Cork is a naturally occurring wood that, if they're harvested correctly and
trees are replanted, it's completely sustainable, while screw-cap is
certainly recyclable, but again, both of those have some assumptions built
in and I'm not sure that we are far enough along in either process to make
any of those assumptions.

In any case, Mark Aselstine on UnCorked Ventures, this is corks versus
screw-caps, and I hope everyone's doing well.

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