Home Wine Business Editorial Wineries Speak Up About the Benefits of Using Natural Cork

Wineries Speak Up About the Benefits of Using Natural Cork


Natural CorkA growing list of leading wineries, including St. Francis, Bogle and Fetzer, are speaking up about the benefits of using natural cork. They recognize that not only does natural cork allow wines to age perfectly, but using natural cork also provides a potential competitive advantage when it comes to marketing their wine brands.

According to Wines & Spirits “25th Annual Survey of Top 50 Restaurant Wine Brands,” wines finished primarily with cork accounted for 90 percent of the brands selected in these top restaurants. This represents a 21 percent increase from a decade ago, compared to a 39 percent decline in wines with screw caps and a 70 percent drop for those with synthetic closures.

“These survey figures are consistent with the Aug. 16, 2014, Nielsen scan of the Top 100 Premium Brands, which showed that since the start of 2010, there has been a steady increase in cork’s market share — with a 30 percent positive slope for cork-finished wines compared to a 9 percent slope for wines with alternative closures,” commented Peter Weber, Executive Director of the Cork Quality Council (CQC).

Christopher Silva, President and CEO of St. Francis, said, “We believe that natural cork is an integral part of the romance of the wine experience. There is nothing that can duplicate the iconic ‘pop’ when a cork is pulled from the bottle.”

Silva said that his winery discontinued using cork two decades ago, due to inconsistent cork quality. But he and his team kept testing corks on a few cases of wine each year in the hope of returning to cork. They saw a steady improvement, and by 2012 they were convinced it was time to return to cork.

He added that using natural cork is consistent with St. Francis’ commitment to sustainability. “We are a certified sustainable Sonoma County business that is powered by solar energy, uses eco-friendly packaging, and is active in water conservation and recycling.”

Weber continued, “In addition to cork’s robust sustainability credentials, wineries are also benefiting from the hundreds of million dollars that Portuguese cork manufacturers have invested in new technologies and improved quality-control measures.”

In 2013, the CQC members conducted over 30,000 analyses. Their combined screening records show a steady reduction in measurable 2,4,6-Trichloroanisle (TCA) levels that are now 95 percent lower than the results seen when records were first tabulated in 2001.

“Using natural cork is an integral part of our message, heritage and culture,” Silva added.

Source: NewsUSA http://about.newsusa.com/article/wineries-speak-up-about-the-benefits-of-using-natural-cork.aspx

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  1. Cork is a cellular material and when compressed in the neck of a bottle, it provides an effective barrier to th entry of atmospheric oxygen. It also has an internal surface area of some 2-3 square metres which gives it the ability to adsorb some of the volatile materials in the wine. After several years under cork, wines tend to be ‘softer’ and more mellow.

  2. While all the things attributed under the various quotes above are probably accurate (and to which I agree), the conclusion in the first paragraph that natural cork allows wines to age perfectly is a problem.

    There is no definition of what is perfect (perhaps wines were not even supposed to age – corks were not available when the first closures were used). Further, there still is no credible study that wines age better under cork than screw cap. In fact, my own tests (which from what I can see are as definitive as any others) may well point to better aging with the screw cap.

    When an article begins with a statement that is not backed up by the quotes within, that is always a problem of some degree.

  3. Although the use of cork to seal wine containers was recorded by Pliny the Elder, the use of cork-sealed glass bottles began in the late 16th century.

    In the 1970s-80s, the age of medal-winning wines at Australian was usually in the range of 1-2 years for Riesling style wine, 5-10 years for broader Semillon or Chardonnay styles, and 5-15 years for red wines.The implication being that most of the wines ‘improved’ with a degree of bottle age All these wines would have been sealed with cork. I haven’t seen any results for screwcapped wines, but my distinct impression is that there is very little change in screwcapped wines in the years after bottling.


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