The Cork v. Screw Cap Debate: Could Cork Be the Green Alternative?

Here is a very interesting article from John Witherspoon over at Anything Wine. John references this article in the Seattle Times, which argues that cork usage is actually better for the environment than screw caps. The gist of it is that cork trees are not killed in the process of making corks, and that the process actually helps to keep them healthy over their 200-year life span.

I find this very interesting. While I have become a believe that screw caps are the better enclosure for the wines, red and white, I think the effects on the environment should be carefully considered, especially since wine is ultimately an agricultural business. Does anyone have any thoughts on this? I would be curious to hear if there is an environmental argument for screw caps.

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Don’t forget to VOTE!

Published in: on October 29, 2007 at 11:04 pm  Comments (4)  
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4 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Metal screw caps are probably equally good for the environment (as cork) IFF you make them out of recycled metal and they get recycled again. I know that there are quite a few other things that people can make out of cork…so if they want to harvest it for the health of the trees, it certainly won’t go to waste.

    Plastic screw caps, and plastic corks for that matter, are not good for the environment or the wine.

    Granted, the biggest health/wine problem you’re going to have with a plastic cork or cap is if it gets hot (at which point, your wine is toast anyway). But the problem with plastics is in the bigger picture…it takes a good number of petrochemicals to make plastic. It isn’t exactly great for the environment. I’m not sure of the specifics of recycled plastics, but I would imagine that the process of melting it down (or whatever they do to recycle plastic) releases at least some petrochemicals into the air.

  2. Really interesting! I would have thought that screw caps were better for the environment since they can be recycled, but I wonder how many people actually do that. Thanks for posting the link on my blog!

    Michelle

  3. Screwcaps are definitely better, just imagine all the wastage if one in 12 ( or whatever percentage you choose ) of the worlds wines are simply tipped down the sink because they have TCA

  4. I see-saw back and forth on what I prefer, but generally speaking I think the cork is traditionally the better choice given the aeration process it allows. The liability of TCA is very real, and we should not ignore that many wines would do better with the screw cap than the cork. In the end, having both options is the best answer as each sealing technique brings advantages:
    http://winestopper.wordpress.com/2009/01/26/cork-or-screw-cap/


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