5 Top Bottle Stoppers
It’s no longer just corks and screw caps. Here’s your cheat sheet to the five major bottle stoppers winemakers are using today.
Harvested from cork tree bark, it’s been used for centuries and plugs 80 percent of all new wine bottles today.
Pros: It compresses into the bottle easily and expands, creating a tight seal, yet it allows a small amount of air to interact with the wine which can aid the aging process.
Cons: It requires a corkscrew, it’s breakable and is susceptible to cork taint, which gives wine a moldy, wet-cardboard aroma.
This recylable aluminum cap is widely used in Australia and New Zealand for white wines and many high-quality reds.
Pros: While it doesn’t hermetically seal the wine, it does keep out more air than natural cork, helping to preserve the original aromas and flavors of the wine.
Cons: Because the wine can’t breathe, there is a small risk of sulfides imparting off aromas.
Most synthetics used today are typically petroleum-based plastic, but one of the larger faux cork makers, Nomacorc, recently released a synthetic cork derived from sugar cane.
Pros: It looks and sounds like a cork, allows wine to breathe at a consistent rate and there’s no risk of cork taint.
Cons: Some claim the plastic gives wine a chemical taste.
A glass sealer with an o-ring that resembles an old-school jug stopper; several producers in Germany and Napa Valley are already using it.
Pros: No impact on the nose or flavors and it hermetically seals the bottle, reducing the risk of oxidation and preserving the wine’s original aromas.
Cons: It must be manually inserted into the bottle. This is a big expense, which means pricier wines for you.
Another topper that looks like a jug stopper, this plug—which is gaining producer fans in Australia where it was first released—is popped after you peel away a protective casing.
Pros: Makes the “pop” sound and there’s zero risk of cork taint. It can be used for both still and sparkling wines.
Cons: It only fits into a specially-designed bottleneck. This drives up the cost, which will ultimately be passed onto you.