18 February 2019 | Raidis Estate
It’s about closure
It’s the (now) age-old argument of screw caps vs. corks to seal wine bottles, and which is the better way to go? There are clearly two good arguments here which both have their virtues, however, we believe that screw caps show our wines in the best possible light, and they are better for keeping our wines fresher for longer, and provide longevity in ageing.
The main difference between corks and screw caps is the amount of oxygen they allow through them and into the wine in the bottle. As a rule of thumb, the more oxygen, the faster the wine will age. When wine ages, it essentially undergoes composition changes which soften the wines and improve the integration of all the components.
Oxygen rates on screw caps are controlled for more even ageing, and cork, being a natural product generally will have more variance in how much oxygen it will let through, and offers less control over the ageing process.
Clearly, there is a visual difference between a bottle that has a cork in the top and one which has a screw cap. Until relatively recently (1970’s onwards) in Australia, the cork was the preferred method to seal wines and is still used a lot internationally, largely due to the fact many see a wine as “premium” if it has a cork in it. This is not necessarily the case.
In Australia, screw caps are now the preferred closure for wines due to their sleek look and quality control. Over 90% of wines bottled in Australia now are under screw cap, not cork. Many of Australia’s most expensive wines are now using a screw cap, so gone are the days where premium wines only had corks.
One of the problems corks can have that screw caps will not, is cork taint. Cork taint is caused by chlorine-based sprays which some European countries use on their cork trees. If they use these sprays on their trees, when they harvest the bark to make corks, the taint can come with it and can absorb into the wine, thereby causing the taint. Wines bottled under screwcap will age slower and more evenly than corks and will be fresher when opened as compared to the same wine if it were sealed with a cork, and there’s no risk of cork taint.
Now the cork fans out there will have their own point of view on what works better for their wines, and their own arguments as to why cork is better, and that’s fine. We don’t have any issues with using corks (providing there is no taint), but we use screw caps because we believe they are the best for our wines and show all our Raidis Estate wines to the great people who drink them in the best possible light.