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Midnight Cellars
 
December 15, 2019 | News | Midnight Cellars

Screw cap vs Cork Closures

Midnight's explanation for why we have started to transition to screw caps:

First of all, when screw caps were first developed, they were indeed designed to be an alternative closure for white, ready to drink wines.  As they became more accepted in the market, companies started to research the possibility of a screw cap designed for longer term aging.  These have been tested extensively by major, high end producers, perhaps most famously Plumpjack Winery up north.

As the testing results came back over the years, tweaks have been made and the product improved.  Currently, screw cap producers offer a wide line of options with the range of zero air exchange to different porosities to allow really any air exchanges the winemaker desires.  As someone who personally likes to age wines, and produce ageable wines, I have waited for the dust to settle on a lot of these studies before making the jump.

Every time I open a bottle of corked wine, I am sad that this could have been avoided, simply by using a screw cap closure.  I am assuming you are familiar with cork taint and the fact that it is a naturally occurring compound that taints a wine in as little as 5 parts per TRILLION!  This imparts a "cork taint" that is most commonly described as a musty, bandaid type flavor and aroma and masks the true flavors of a wine.  The current industry acceptable standard for this taint is 7%, which means that it is acceptable to cork producers and wineries that use cork closures to have 7% failure in their product, which is almost a full bottle per case!
As I am still sensitive to people's perception of a screw cap closure, I have decided to keep our reserve red wines under corks for the time being.  However, I have decided to make the move to a screw cap closure on the rest of the wines.  Please understand that I make wines to last, so thusly have chosen a screw cap that has the exact air exchange as a high end cork closure, just without the possibility of any cork taint. 

Nothing matters to me more than my customers, especially wine club members, being happy with my wines, so I am always looking for ways to ensure that.  All of our wines are being made with ageability in mind and I am just trying to assure that every bottle tastes the same and will improve in the bottle for years to come!

If you ever have any further questions about anything at all, please feel free to email or call me directly!

- Rich Hartenberger
 

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