Wine Cellar Innovations Blog

Wine Cellar Inspirations: Would You Go For Natural Or Synthetic Corks?

October 30th, 2019

These days, anything made with “all-natural” ingredients or materials is becomes popular in a snap. It’s fantastic to see people becoming more and more aware of eco-friendly products and switching to them. But what about when it comes to wine corks? Is going the natural route really the best option?  We’re about to find out!

Natural vs. Synthetic: What’s your choice?

The big supporters of synthetic corks and screw caps are those who make their living bottling wine or are involved with that industry. That comes as no surprise since synthetic corks and screw caps are considerably cheaper when it comes to manufacturing costs. But that’s not the only reason as well. Another strong argument in support of synthetic corks is the undeniable reality of cork taint.

Cork taint is brought about by a chemical compound called trichloroanisole (TCA), which occurs naturally in some corks. The result of this is quite frustrating to the avid wine collector who usually ends up with bottles of wine smelling like wet cardboard. Imagine popping those expensive vintages after being aged to perfection and coming across that wet cardboard smell. However, are these reasons enough to switch from natural corks to synthetic ones? Let’s look into the issues that come with these cork substitutes.

Firstly, let’s consider the fact that synthetic corks don’t adapt to the changes in their surroundings. What exactly does this translate to? Take into account that the glass wine bottles are made of expands and contracts with small temperature shifts in the environment around it.  Unlike natural cork, a synthetic one does not expand and contract with the bottle. This can lead to environmental inconsistencies which are detrimental to wine aging. The loos synthetic cork will let in more oxygen than necessary. The worse reaction is that of the alcohol in your wine bottles turning into acetic acid, or vinegar.

Secondly, synthetic corks and screw caps have a great tendency to trap unsavory gases inside the wine bottle. This can completely ruin the wine’s aroma. Take note that some of the reactions that occur within an aging wine result in sulfury gases.  With natural corks, these gases are able to dissipate. That’s not that case with synthetic corks and screw caps. Nothing can be worse than that horrid smell that these gases can produce in your wine.

Lastly, there is that great danger that these synthetic substitutes could leech chemicals into the wine. Studies have shown the unavoidable, harmful effects when plastics are ingested by the human body. You cannot be too careful when it comes to your health. If you want to keep on enjoying wine, it’s best to be safe rather than sorry. That being said, the choice is obvious: natural corks are the way to go! ^_^

Visit Vintage Cellars for more insight on this topic.


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