Time To Move Beyond Natural Cork

More and more wine is bottled with synthetic cork or twist off caps. Many people associate these modern enclosures with cheap wine and that makes wineries reluctant to switch. It’s a shame, really, because we’ve learned so much since natural cork was state of the art. We’ve learned that 2,4,6-trichloroanisole (TCA), a substance that occurs in natural cork, causes a wine fault called “cork taint.” We’ve learned to make synthetic cork, which is free of such taint but can leave wine vulnerable to oxidation after several years. Finally, we’ve learned to make twist off caps that will allow a tiny, consistent amount of oxygen into the wine – enough for it to age properly, but not enough to oxidize it. After learning all that, twist off caps don’t look cheap to me; they look like really good modern closures that keep our wine in top condition.

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2 thoughts on “Time To Move Beyond Natural Cork

  1. michael

    Good morning, got my first batch of mead of the season going today! I’m looking for information on if resealable alluminum cans or mason jars could be used for bottles and storage. Any input would be greatly appeciated. Thank you

  2. Erroll Post author

    Hi Micheal,

    I’ve not used either of those, but two things to keep in mind:

    Headspace – half an inch of room between the cork and the mead in the narrow neck of a bottle will hold much less air than half an inch in a wide mouth container like a mason jar. So using bottles means much less risk of oxidation.

    Seal – mason jars used for canning are meant to keep an airtight seal for a long time, and that’s what you need. But in canning, you submerge the jar in boiling water. Is this necessary to seal the jar? Would you get the same good seal if you just tightened it without the water bath? I honestly don’t know.

    I would use wine bottles with corks or beer bottles with caps, if at all possible.


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