To screwcap or cork? That is the question.
Last month, we had a tour come through the facility with Wings over Willcox, and once we hit the bottling line, it was the first thing asked.
I like both screwcaps and corks. Here at Aridus, we have the capability to either cork or screwcap, which is nice, but really—why do we choose one over the other?
The short answer is this: we use screwcaps for wines we expect that you’ll drink right away, and corks for those that we hope you’ll lay down and age for a little bit before breaking into them.
In reality, it’s a little more nuanced than that. There are a number of factors that we take into consideration when deciding on a cork or a screwcap. The first of which is type of wine. When you choose a screwcap over a cork, one consideration is that you’ve suddenly got a lot more headspace in the bottle. During bottling, the bottle is evacuated and the air replaced with nitrogen prior to filling, which minimizes the amount of oxygen present in the bottle, but it is still a larger volume of gas in bottle than with a cork.
With that in mind, it’s also important to consider when the bottle is going to be drunk. Is it tonight? In two weeks? Or maybe in ten years? The shorter a time span between when a wine is purchased and when it is drunk, the more a screwcap makes sense.
Besides, how easy is it to use a screwcap? It’s just downright fun— one twist, that delightful cracking sound, the give of the cap in your hand, and it’s instant party. As Scott likes to say, easy breezy. They can be downright gorgeous, too. I can get lost for hours browsing the Mala closures website.
A cork seems to lend itself to situations with a bit more gravitas. You cut through the foil, then twist the spiraled helix into the pliant center of the cork. Brace the arm on the lip of the bottle and pray a little bit as you lever the cork out the bottle’s neck. Phew, it didn’t crumble or crack. Yes, corks are definitely for wines that want you to muster your skills and bring all your attention to hand.
There's also a price difference. A screwcap costs 25 cents, whereas a cork and a foil cost 60 cents. That may not sound like much, but when you think about something like the Sauvignon Blanc that we recently bottled, totaling 6000 bottles, it’s a difference of over $2100. (We corked that one.)
At the end of the day, we’re always going to aim to deliver a quality bottle of wine. And only your own rules apply once it’s in your own home. But if this little post helps you out at all by giving you some insight into our decision-making, that’s all that really matters.