Screw Top vs. Natural Cork

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Should I stay away from wines with screw tops?

Screw Top vs. Natural Cork

There is a big debate in the wine industry and over restaurant tables right now about what it means to choose a wine with a screw top. Some restaurant customers will send a wine back if they realize it has a screw top. Wine bottles with screw tops face a stigma. These bottles are considered lowly and people are afraid to drink them for fear of appearing to lack class. These are all misconceptions, however, and the wine industry is slowly battling the stigma by ordering more fantastic wines with screw tops. In recent years, more screw tops have made their way onto wine bottles. This is for practical reasons. Natural corks have been used to close wine bottles and jugs for centuries. But years of studies have shown that naturally corked bottles do not preserve the wine inside the bottle as well as synthetic corks or screw tops. Studies show that 2 to 5 percent of wines suffer from cork taint - a fungal contamination of the cork that gives a moldy or wet cardboard flavor to even the finest vintage. Not everyone in the wine industry is sold on screw tops. Some of their reasons are emotional and some are practical. There are those that complain that in making wine bottles so easy to open, screw tops diminish the romance and theatricality of opening and drinking a bottle of wine. The industry debate continues. But in the meantime, many restaurant owners admit to buying more screw top wines and schooling their waitstaff on how to delicately open them and educate the customer about any misconceptions.



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