June 1, 2020

A Guide to Corks

When it comes to keeping spirits fresh, allowing them to age, or even just to prevent spilling, corks are the go-to for wine connoisseurs around the globe. Now, when we hear the word cork, we usually just think of the little inch-long piece that pops out of the bottle when we open it. These little poppers often have the name and logo of the winery that they came from printed or stamped on them. But did you know that there are several different types of corks? Let’s check them out.

Natural Corks

Natural corks are sourced from the bark of Cork oak trees and are buoyant, as are most pieces of wood. These trees are grown and then stripped of their bark once they are around 25 years old. The first time they are stripped does not produce adequate cork sizes so corks found in wine bottles are often from batches stripped years later. This allows the bark to be thick enough to be made into corks for the alcohol industry. According to Wine Lovers Club, there are three types of natural corks: 

  • One piece: This type of cork is the most secure and is made of one solid piece of cork. It is the best type of cork for aging wine or the long-term storage of wine as its thickness helps ensure that no air is getting into the bottle. 
  • Multi-piece: These corks are not designed for the long term and are made from several pieces of cork that are glued together. They are often made with thinner pieces of cork that risk tainting the wine.
  • Colmated: Colmated cork is made from natural cork that has defects or imperfections that are then filled with a rubber-based glue. 

Agglomerate Cork

Agglomerate cork is low-quality and is made by gluing together cork chips. This type of cork often allows the wine to become tainted and should not be used long term.

Synthetic or Alternative Cork

Synthetic corks are made from different materials, mainly various types of plastics, and are modeled after traditional corks. They are smooth to the touch and actually help prevent the wine from becoming tainted by the cork. One downside to this alternative is that it does not allow the wine to breathe, so synthetic corks should not be used for aging wine.

Glass Corks

Now, putting a glass cork in a glass bottle isn’t enough to properly seal the wine. These special corks, known as Vino-Loks, have a circle of rubber around the underside that helps create a seal. Decanter claims that this ring of rubber is “taste-neutral, alcohol- and acid-resistant and even mimics the oxygen transmission of natural cork.” They not only look fancy, but they do not allow the wine to be tainted.

Screw Caps

Lastly, these caps were frowned upon in years passed but have since been reported to be popular in Australia and New Zealand. They are best used for short term storage or with wines that do not need to be aged. 

Let Cork Bar & Restaurant Provide Dinner

Now that you’re a professional in identifying corks, let Cork provide dinner while you uncork your favorite bottle of wine. We are now offering curbside pick-up Thursday through Saturdays 2-7 P.M. and Sundays 12-4 P.M. Click here for the menu!