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For a long time, the natural cork was considered the best closure of a wine bottle. Recently, it's starting to change. Properly close has a huge impact on wine aroma and its taste. Get knowledge about various types of corks.


One of the most exciting things for snobbish winemakers is the date of production. Only a few can recognize the exquisite taste of wine, which was created at a specific time, and this skill increases their ego. The idea of ​​hierarchizing beverages in terms of the date started at the end of the eighteenth century when the production of glass bottles sealed with a cork increased. Improved products were longitudinal and not spherical. It was also possible to close them, by pushing the whole cork into the bottleneck, because a corkscrew was invented at the same time.


From this time the bottles could be stored lying down. The cork was in constant contact with the wine, so it did not dry out and did not leak out, protecting the contents of the bottle from deterioration. Earlier, before the bottle and the cork joined together, the wine quickly became acid and the vintage on it indicated only whether it was still drinkable.


Cork made of natural material


The traditional cork is obtained from evergreen cork oaks. Worldwide, these trees occupy 2 million hectares of land. The best conditions for the growth of cork trees occur in the western part of the Mediterranean, but the world leader in the cork industry is Portugal. Acquiring raw material for industrial purposes does not involve cutting down trees, because only the dead part of the bark is used. How did it happen that the cork became a popular closure of wine?




Its properties were discovered by Robert Hook, who noticed under the microscope that the structure of the cork is porous and consists of millions of cells filled with air. This provides flexibility and also allows a constant flow of the minimum amount of oxygen into the bottle. Under its influence, wine aromas evolve and change from fruity to more earthy ones. Cork is a great closure because it is biodegradable, easy to produce and use, and at the same aesthetic. The only snag lies in the fact that from time to time it can be contaminated with a compound produced by microorganisms still in the bark of the oak. TCA gives the wine a musty smell and its taste becomes unpleasant. So maybe it's time to think about a synthetic replacement?


Other types of wine corks


An alternative to avoiding wine spoilage due to cork is the use of an artificial silicone piece, an increasingly popular metal cap or glass cork. The latter type is very rare because it is an expensive solution. More attention should be paid to synthetic corks, which reduces the bad smell. Their structure translates into impressive tightness. However, this is not necessarily an advantage, because, for this reason, they are not suitable for wines that require aging, and oxygen access supports their maturation process. They are the ideal solution for beginner winemakers, and in professional production, they are mounted in bottles with sparkling wine and dessert.




Some also use agglomerated cork. What is that? Agglomerated plugs arise from post-production residues. They are made of granules and solid waste. First, all the residue is ground, and the resulting granulate is glued and pressed. These are the cheapest corks, and the least valuable ones. In many cases, the wine spoils by using this type of cork. Compressed products are only suitable for wines that will not be aged because they do not protect the wine from odors from the outside and make the bottle get too much air.


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