Is cork making a comeback?

Cork has been the closure of choice for about 400 years, but in recent years it has got a bad wrap because of cork taint, a term that mostly refers to a chemical compound called TCA that spoils about 7% of wines. Of course it is not the only source of wine spoilage, and TCA is not only found in cork, but also in water, wood, soil and other natural substrates. Nevertheless, cork was made the scapegoat and producers started looking to screwcaps and artificial stoppers as alternatives.
Aluminium screw caps today close about 20% of table wines world-wide, with plastic closures coming in at 10%. According to the article, cork has lost about 40% of market share since the late 1980s, mostly in lower priced wines. Millennials, it seems, are less sentimental about cork and more open to alternative wines and closures.
But it seems that cork really is a great way of preserving wine. Its sealing qualities stem from the natural compressibility, which flexes under pressure. The cork industry is now back with a vengeance, it seems. Producers are investing in new equipment and refining production techniques, which all contributes to a decline in tainted wine. Recent tests by the Cork Quality Council shows a 95% reduction in TCA since 2001. Cork production is also considered a carbon negative process, since only the bark of the cork tree is removed and production is sustainable.
Will this help to sway the Millennials towards the soft pop of uncorking a bottle? Time will tell. Click here for the original article.


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