Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Cork As A Green Solution

I read a story just the other day that struck me as a bit much. Apparently the wine cork industry, and some environmentalists, are urging wineries to get back to using good old fashioned wine corks because it's the environmentally responsible thing to do.

Cork, as most people know, comes from trees and is a biodegradable, renewable resource. It's naturally appealing to environmentalists. Problem is cork is far too often tainted with TCA, ruining the wine. With many wineries eschewing cork in favor of screw caps as a result, the cork industry now warns that not only will this natural stopper be replaced by synthetic products in the waste stream but that cork forests themselves may be forced to give way in favor of less environmentally friendly development.

With cork manufacturers hit rather hard in the pocketbook in recent years, forgive me if I'm cynical about the professed environmental concerns of corkers.

I'm very sensitive to environmental concerns in general. But my opinion about cork vs. screwtops on wine bottles remains unchanged: I think every bottle under $10 should have a screwtop, wines over $20 should always have real cork, and wines $10 to $20 are up for grabs. One other hard and fast rule -- the industry should move completely away from synthetic corks, which are environmentally unfriendly and difficult for the consumer to use.

The Genie has been let out of the bottle as far as screwtops are concerned. There's no going back. They are so easy for consumers to use and free of cork taint. But, because no one knows yet just how these stoppers will impact the long-term aging of wines, and for aesthetic reasons, cork is a must for ageworthy wines.

Instead of using scare tactics, the best thing the cork industry can do to slow this trend is improve the reliability of its corks. That's one thing I was glad to read of in the story mentioned above. The industry already has implemented measures that are resulting in more reliably taint-free corks. Perhaps this alone will help slow the trend toward screwcaps. But, as I said, it's too late to stop it. And I, for one, don't think that's a bad thing. I hope both screwcaps and cork will be a part of our wine-drinking future for a long time to come.


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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cork is not very good wine lover gift:)

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Anonymous Jeremy Long said...

I am in favor of the cork rather than the screw cap.We should not use anything which is not environment friendly.Because of global warming we are heading towards a dangerous future.So lets try to save the environment.I will make sure that i will drink the wine which has cork in it.I like to drink wine with my Cuban cigars.I buy my Cigars Online.

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