What is the Best Closure for a Wine Bottle?

This is a debate that continues to rage.  What is the best closure for a bottle of wine?  Is it a natural cork, agglomerated cork, synthetic cork, screw-top, or vino-seal closure (glass stopper)?  I have my theory’s for this subject and I am in no way saying they are the only ones – just mine.

Wine Corks

Natural Cork:  The bark from a Cork Oak tree.  The bark is peeled off the tree by skilled harvesters so the tree is not damaged or harmed in any way.  And is a renewable resource.  The cork is then punched out of the bark.  Natural cork is also biodegradable which means it is environmentally responsible choice as well.

Agglomerated Cork:  Cork particles that are “glued” together with a resin and formed into the cork shape.  Do not use on wines that are to be aged more than 2 years.

Synthetic Cork:  Made from plastic products that are extruded into a cork shape.  These are not biodegradable but some communities do allow recycling.  Some synthetic corks allow air to enter the bottle after only 18 months.

Screw Top:  No explanation needed.

Vino-Seal:  A glass stopper system with a rubber O-ring that seals the bottle.  These are relatively expensive and require manual bottling because of lack of bottling equipment that is compatible across the board with the various shapes of bottles.

My personal preference for a wine closure system is a natural cork.  The reason I prefer a natural cork is that it is just that, natural.  It is my belief that the natural cork imparts characteristics to the wine and also allows some air into the bottle (wine is alive and as a result, I believe needs to have a small amount of air in order to reach its true potential.  This closure has been used for centuries – more than 4 to be exact.   Many of my friends will argue with me that synthetic is better because it keeps air from getting into the bottle (this is true but only for a few years – it isn’t the best product for a wine that you want to age because the synthetic material will start to break down after a few years then you don’t have anything protecting your wine).  Others will state that the screw top is best because you can get a nice tight seal when you have wine remaining and this will keep the left over wine from oxidizing (well, maybe but the seal is plastic and I don’t like chemicals or plastic near my food.  Also, what is left over wine?).  Still others will state that the agglomerated cork is the best bet.  It is a recycled product so it is an ecologically sound product (Not necessarily.  An agglomerated cork is made up of cork particles held together with a resin.  Once again, I don’t like chemicals and plastics near my food).  Now, I don’t have any particular pros or cons for the Vino-Seal system.  I do kind of like the re-usable glass stopper but I don’t know what I would use it for.  Maybe homemade wine???

So, my opinion?  Go with the natural cork.  It’s been used for centuries.

NOTE:  The above are my opinions, please do your research and come to your own conclusions.




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