THE QUESTION OF SCREW CAP PART III…kind of


This is suppoed to be Part three of the question of the screwcap. I was all excited to talk about recyclability (not sure if this is a word) of the screwcap versus the cork. I was going to go into wonderful detail about how both break down and what would be the best option in a green society. I was going to tackle the issue of price. Which is more expensive the cork or the screwcap? Are there different quality types? What are the options?

Well the info was a bit spotty so I am going to throw down what I found and see if any of the comments I get can add to the facts.

As far as the recycle issue goes it seems to me that both are almost equally as green. Both can be recycled. The advantage of cork is that certain ones are biodegradable. Cork comes in a couple different forms and one of them is the more expensive single chunk; a closure made from one piece of cork. This is the one that nature can eventually completely break down. The other option is small pieces of cork glued together to create a closure. Although I read that the single cork was biodegradable it was not from a solid source. And as far as a cork that as been binded with some sort of synthetic adhesive I am guessing that it would be less biodegradable than the former. If anyome has any solid info on this please let me know. The thing is when you research recycling cork the sites that come up are the excruciatingly cheesy DIY craft communities raving about the different types of furniture, lawn ornaments and home accessories one can make with those extra corks laying around as well as other wacky ideas.

Screwcaps are recyclable and not biodegradable. And there are no arts and crafts. Some do say that the carbon footprint of the screwcap is larger than the cork which makes sense but the cork taint issue is always a factor. Smaller footprint orincreased odds of having flawed wine. Which brings us to cost.

Synthetic corks seem to the be the least expensive of the three options and I am only mentioning this to get it out of the way. They cost between .50 and .75 each. Wine under syntheic cork is wine that must be consumed within two to five years. The closure itself is not a proper seal for aging as it is prone to allow too much oxygen into a wine and speed up the process of…well…oxidation.

The cost of cork can get expensive starting at a dollar each. This is why there is a general thought out there that winemakers save their cork for their age-worthy wines and use screwcaps for the ready-now bottles.

With screwcaps I found that is is quite expensive to make the change. From corking to screwcapping. The capper machines are very expensive if you are doing it yourself. There are two different ways of switching over. One can buy a standalone capper which will run an average of about $25,000 and can go up to 200,000. Plus there is a possible $5000 to upwards of $12,000 cost for updating certain exsisting components. There are different costs for different setups. It seems that there is a way to add a screwcap capper head to an exsisting assemblyline but the are apparently different types of those too and upgrade depends on how intricate your system is.

So what it comes down too is it depends on the winemaker’s philosophy. It all seems top be expensive but the options are clear. Although screwcap aging is still being sussed out the publ;ic and the wine industry is accepting this closure more and more. And because the info ou there is not too solid it feels like people are still trying to figuire it out. It doesn’t feel like cork will be gone forever in the years to come. I think people are going to find a balance between the two and use cork and crewcap accordingly. They both seem to work and until we can figure out the facts about softening the juice under screwcap let’s just sit back and crack one open and then pop one, pour, swirl, sip and enjoy.

If anyone has any info with links about this subject please feel free to send them to me.

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