cork vs capsule
At least once in your life, you have probably opened one of those uncorked bottles with a screw cap, depriving you of the pleasure of using your corkscrew and hearing a cheerful "Pop".
If you were shocked or disappointed, you are part of the 90% of French people who still prefer to find the classic cork on their bottles.
But then, if 90% of French consumers prefer the cork stopper, how do you explain the fact that almost 20% of bottles sold in France have a screw cap?
Obviously, the price is a factor.
Indeed, screw caps are half the price of quality corks, costing about 10 to 20 cents each. Another factor in the capsule's success is the rise of new world wines, which are often fitted with screw caps rather than corks made on the Mediterranean coast.
The cork stopper, although favoured by the consumer, is not a guarantee of perfect conservation of the wine. Indeed, everyone has had the unpleasant experience of opening a bottle with a disappointing cork taste. This well-identified odour is detected in about 1 to 10% of bottles corked with cork, depending on the source. The screw cap, on the other hand, offers a total guarantee of no aromatic deviation. In addition, its watertightness protects the aromas of aromatic white wines, such as the highly perfumed thiol derivatives, from oxidation. It therefore becomes a quality factor for young and fresh wines.
It is rather on the long term conservation that screw caps lose the advantage over cork stoppers. Indeed, the improvement in the organoleptic and aromatic profile of wines for ageing is essentially due to the oxidation that occurs through the cork stopper, which is not completely watertight. Studies carried out on the wines of Haut Brion in Pessac or Kanonkop in South Africa seemed to show that although wines corked with a capsule did not deteriorate over time, they did lose in aromatic complexity compared to wines corked with cork.
In short, the capsule offers many advantages in terms of quality, at least for young wines, which represent 90% of world consumption. There is every reason to believe that it will gradually gain market share for this type of wine. On the other hand, consumers have little fear of seeing the corks of precious Bordeaux, Burgundy, Nappa Valley or Mendoza wines disappear...