When we think of opening a nice bottle of wine we would always picture a sommelier
opening the bottle ceiled by a natural cork, smelling the cork and leaving it on the table. For
many wine enthusiasts, a natural cork means quality of wine but is that always true?
Natural corks are extremely suitable to ceil wine bottles because they are elastic enough to
be inserted in the bottle when ceiling it and to be taken out when opening it. Corks are
waterproof, hermetic and chemically neutral. The main problem with natural cork is that its
production is long and costly. It takes almost 15 years to be able to start producing corks
from an oak tree and then 5 more years to make it suitable to be used as a wine cork.
Depending on the cork quality, it can happen that after some years the cork brings a terrible
cork taste in the wine and in this case you can through away your wine!
No cork or plastic corks
No need to say with these kind of corks there is no chance you wine will get corked!
Plastic corks does not mean low quality wines. Indeed, many good quality wines from South
Africa, America or even New Zealand do not use natural corks. Not only plastic corks are
cheaper but it helps the wines to travel smoothly. This is why many producers will use
plastic corks to ceil all their wine bottles travelling outside their country of production.
On the other hand, it’s important to note that they are not suitable at all for wines that will
spend years in a cave before being drunk. This is why you would never find plastic corks
ceiling a bottle of Bordeaux or Bourgogne.
New Zealand produces some of the best wines on the planet but uses natural corks for only
20% of its production. That shows that plastic corks work really well for wines that are
meant to be drunk young whilst they are fresh and fruity but until today nothing can replace
natural corks for wines that needs to be aged before being drank.