Cork Versus Screw Cap
Hello there and welcome fellow wine enthusiasts!
Have you ever reached for a bottle of wine and hesitated because the bottle had a screw cap versus a cork? Do you know what the difference is in a bottle with a cork versus a screw cap? Let me shed a little bit of light on the differences. Here are some fun facts:
- Cork comes from the bark of Cork Oak Trees, an evergreen that grows to around 20 meters high.
- Cork oak trees are not cut down, they are hand harvested annually for 10-12 years.
- A cork tree harvested of its bark will absorb 10 tons more CO2 during its ‘life cycle’ than one not harvested!
- Cork forests contribute and support forestry biodiversity by protecting 6.6ML acres of Mediterranean basin from becoming a desert!
- Portugal produces around 50% of the cork production with Corticeira Amorium dominating the market.
- In the 18th Century, Englishman Robert Hooke invented the ‘cork’ wine bottle stopper.
- Cork is flexible, elastic, light, compressible and has the ability to thermally insulate as well as allows tiny amounts of O2 into the wine, which helps wine mature.
- Only around 1% of wines are affected by cork taint.
- Champagne/Sparkling wine corks are wider in diameter to help them withstand the higher pressures and are also straight and compressed when inserted before ‘mushrooming’.
- Los Alcornocales Natural Park ("The Cork Oak Grove") is the largest cork oak forest on the Iberian Peninsula.
- For most forest ecosystems, the word "harvest" signals threat. But a cork harvest isn't typical of forestry, because the tree itself isn't cut down. In fact, there is no harm to the tree thanks to the cork oak's unique ability to regenerate outer bark (the layer we know as cork) and the mastery of the farmers.
- Natural corks can be recycled or composted with many recycling programs local or online.
- Screw caps were first introduced in the late 1950s. Wine producers were then looking for a way to solve the quality problems associated with the use of cork. The cap is made of aluminum with a polyethylene or tin coating offering a tight seal.
- Lots of high end wines are using screw caps to protect their wines from oxygen and keep their cost low since screw caps are more cost effective to use.
Hopefully these fun facts will change your perspective on screw cap wines and help to educate you a little more on the world of wine.