Corks or caps for your wine? A UC Davis wine chemist, Andrew Waterhouse, has news that may not be welcomed by natural cork producers, an industry based primarily in Portugal. In recent years natural cork producers have seen their market share drop by an estimated 20% as screw caps and synthetic corks have gained popularity. The industry is pushing back, and is launching an advertising campaign to wine buyers in Northern California.
“Screw-caps and the synthetic cork are more consistent,” says Waterhouse. “Significantly more consistent. But, when I’ve talked to winemakers about what closures they want to use I’ve had many of them tell me they prefer natural corks.”
Waterhouse also notes that the research is short-term; there’s no data yet on the efficacy of these newer, different closure types five years out. And with a 250-year legacy, natural cork producers may have an advantage.