The cork exists since 200 years, it has been the first and unique way (for a while) to close the bottles of wine. It’s both the lung and the filter of the wine. Wine makers can spend from few cents to few pounds for it, it depends if the wine is able to develop itself with age (Bordeaux, Barolo, Meursault) or if the wine has to be drunk in 1 or 2 years (IGP white wines, Sauvignon blanc). The New World uses mostly the Screw Top for cheap to expensive wines, when in Old World Screw Tops are usually used, with some exception, exclusively for cheap wines. As well wineries having the traditional cork system don’t want to invest in the screw top system, because the investment would be too expensive for an uncertain benefit.
Screw Top has always been considered by Old World wine makers just as a cheap way to keep only cheap wines. Until now: with the progress, Screw Tops could now be considered as a real alternative to cork.
Why screw top could be a good alternative to cork?
The cork got a lot of advantages it helps the wine to develop it self, it is a good filter, oui mais… the cost for a good one can be dramatic, and unfortunately you never can’t be sure that TCA won’t contaminate the cork and spoil the wine.
Wine makers from Bordeaux and burgundy areas start to compare the evolution of them wines depending of the system chosen to close the bottle.
It seems that wine development is slower with a Screw Top than with a cork. This could be something interesting with wines made from delicate grapes like Pinot noir, Merlot and white wines. Some wine makers are seriously thinking about changing the way to close wine bottles. Wait and see.