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  • Myths and Curiosities

Cork Myths and Curiosities

Did you know that a single cork stopper can capture up to 392g of CO2?

And that cork was used in Ancient Egypt and can be used to produce energy? Did you know that scientific research consistently proves that consumers associate cork with high-quality wines?

Find out everything you’ve always wanted to know about cork.

It’s good that all closure manufacturers seek to improve their product. However, according to recent research, synthetic closures still have some way to go, especially in relation to oxidation and flavour ‘scalping’.

Cork on the other hand also continues to improve and retains all the benefits of a natural wine closure. So even if parallel advances are achieved by the plastic stoppers, we will be able to retain cork’s advantageous departing position.

Winemakers may make recommendations, but they cannot control when a wine is to be drunk. They must be confident that the closure will last the distance, regardless of when the wine is to be drunk.

Winemakers can use cork confident in the knowledge that it will perform well, regardless of when the wine is to be drunk, without the risk of premature oxidation or sulphide like odours associated with other closures.

Cork is not the only source of TCA contamination, so changing closures will not eliminate the risk of TCA taint. There are also other taints that have nothing to do with cork, such as TBA (Tribromoanisole) and Brettanomycaes, and using synthetic closures will not protect against these.

For example, some manufacturers of synthetic closures were forced to review their production processes when it was found that talc used in the manufacturing process caused the stoppers to smell of cow or horse stables and deadened the wine.

Independent market research studies show that consumers do indeed care about the type of closure that is used and the majority prefer cork. Even the producers of alternative closures have not been able to publish a single consumer poll where cork is not the preferred closure.

They associate synthetic closures with cheaper wines.

As cork quality continues to improve and problems with alternatives become more apparent, we are confident that cork will retain its strong support among customers.

Unlike cork, synthetic closures are not natural, renewable or biodegradable, and their production adds to greenhouse emissions.

The synthetic materials may be recyclable but efforts to establish recycling of synthetic closures have failed because it is uneconomic.

No closure can match cork as a sustainable form of packaging, a matter of increasing importance to many consumers.

There are high quality cork closures at all price points to suit all wine styles and market segments. These bring with them all the advantages that winemakers and consumers have come to appreciate in cork.

Not at all. Amorim technical corks (Twin Top and Neutrocork), which compete directly with synthetic closures, have performed just as consistently as synthetic closures without the problems of premature oxidation and scalping that these closures incur.

Moreover, synthetic closures are just as vulnerable as cork and screwcaps to faulty product application, which can lead to sporadic post-bottling oxidation (‘random oxidation’).

One challenge for synthetic closures is that manufacturing changes that reduce oxygen permeability also increase the required extraction force, making it almost impossible to remove them from the bottle or the corkscrew.

Meanwhile, cork producers are working constantly to improve the consistency and overall performance of their product.

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