Real corks are the traditional closure for premium wines. Because the reasons behind that are many, it is difficult to remove this sentimental association from the marketplace. There is a lot working in favor of authentic cork closures continuing to be chosen as the closure for premium wines.
Chief among them is the simple fact that cork is a natural product that carries with it the lowest carbon footprint of any closure, in turn helping to support well-managed and ecologically important cork forests. The wine industry’s use of cork also helps to subsidize the cork materials made from scraps of bottle closure production, which has introduced cork to a number of industries which would otherwise not be served.
The downside of cork is and has remained TCA. That little molecule responsible for so-called ‘corked’ wines generally comes from infected corks, though dirty barrels and even hoses have also harbored TCA. The most prevalent cause of tainted wines continues to be cork closures. Whether that number is the 1% claimed by the cork board or the 10% anecdotal rate often mentioned by people in the business, it is a problem., Until the TCA problem is resolved, the door remains open for the whole gamut of alternative closures.
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