• I”m with you on this one Scott. It’s the natural cork for me too. 🙂

    • Scottmhuntington

      Thanks Susan! One winery I was at used plastic for everything, then got a new winemaker who only wanted natural. It was pretty funny to see the battles between the winemaker and owner on what to get.

  • Jacqueline Gum

    I confess…I DO look at the cork! And I also admit that the plastic wine cork always makes me think that I have purchased an inferior product. I know that’s wrong in some cases, but it always reminds me that I don’t like to c=drink wine out of plastic glasses either. i Know it doesn’t flavor the wine…and I do get over it. But I’s prefer to stick with the cork:)

    • Scottmhuntington

      It will be interesting to see if the general perception of plastic = low quality will change over time. I’m the same way with the plastic cup vs wine glass though. Just doesn’t feel right in plastic.

  • Susan: Just to let you know, I posted a comment 2x yesterday and it went into the ether! Not sure what happened to it, but the post showed up in my inbox here and so I’ll try again.

    I dislike synthetic corks profusely. I don’t like the look or feel of them. I’d much rather have a bottle with a twist top vs a synthetic cork. And I’m slowly leaning to twist tops more and more, as you can now get some amazing wines with twist top bottles and I admit to being lazy. Cheers!

    • Scottmhuntington

      Thanks Doreen! I didn’t get into twist-offs, (that could be a whole other topic) but it is pretty interesting that they’re starting to become more prominent, even in high quality wines.

  • Scott, simply said, I will go with the natural cork! I especially enjoyed reading about the environmental details.

    • Scottmhuntington

      Thanks Leora! Yeah, the environmental stuff is really interesting. If you ever get the chance to actually hold the bark of the cork tree, it’s amazing.

  • You don’t mention wines with screw caps. These are becoming very popular. Just like synthetic and corks, they have their pluses and minuses. One plus is that they easier to open.

    • Scottmhuntington

      The screw caps could be a whole other post! Haha. But yes, it’s interesting to see how they’re catching on.

  • Michele Harvey

    I used to prefer the tradition of a natural cork but have become accustomed to all options, even boxed wines, some of which I think are actually quite good.

    • Scottmhuntington

      That’s a good mindset to have, Michele! While I perfer the natural cork, I try not to let it change my perception of the wine. And yeah, I’ve had some boxed wine that has been better than a few expensive bottles!

  • Hi Scott,
    Good to see you here on Susan’s blog. My vote is natural cork! When I purchase a wine with a plastic one, I feel like it is an upgrade of the screw top. To me it feels cheap. It is all about the experience…even the sound of a plastic cork isn’t the same as a real one. I like to even smell the cork and the plastic one has no smell to it. I’m not a wine expert, but enjoy a good bottle and the entire experience.
    -Donna

    • Scottmhuntington

      Thanks Donna. I didn’t mention it in the article, but I like to collect the corks too, and it seems weird to have the plastic ones mixed in with the real ones.

  • Cheryl Therrien

    I am not a wine drinker, but you have made a great argument for natural in my view. 🙂

    • Scottmhuntington

      You should give it a try sometime!

  • Jon Jefferson

    I was thinking the same as you about the plastic corks. The environmental impact of not only harvesting the oil but then also the breakdown of plastic in landfills can be huge.

  • Whitney Rigsbee

    Hi Scott, my name is Whitney Rigsbee and I work for the largest producer of engineered corks, Nomacorc (www.nomacorc.com). As you mentioned above, the topic of wine closures can be quite cumbersome and there are pros and cons to each closure. However, there are some things I’d like to share with you based on your points above that I think you might find interesting.

    Not all synthetic corks are the same. Nomacorc produces a variety of corks that offer different levels of permeability (think high-tech air filter) which allows certain amounts of oxygen into the wine after it has been bottled to help the wine develop properly. Check out this short animation that explains more: http://youtu.be/gL_C0mC-ppM.

    In addition, Nomacorc now offers plant-based wine corks that are actually the world’s first zero carbon wine closure. Because natural corks require lots of energy and water to produce and clean the bark, the carbon calculation is higher than our plant-based cork, Select Bio. In fact, Adams County Winery out of Orrtanna near Gettysburg is the first winery in Pennsylvania to use our new Select Bio cork: http://blog.pennlive.com/wine/2014/08/what_has_adams_county_winery_done_with_its_corks_gone_over_to_green.html.

    I hope you find this information useful and feel free to let me know if you’d like more information on Nomacorc.

    Cheers,
    Whitney

    Whitney Rigsbee, Nomacorc
    wrigsbee@nomacorc.com

    • Scottmhuntington

      Hi Whitney! Wow, what are the odds… I worked at ACW, the winery you mentioned! During my time there we used all synthetic, until the end where we switched to natural for our “timeless series.”

      I made designs for quite a few corks we ordered from you… they’d often have a picture of Rusty, the golden retriever on them. Small world!

  • Jason Butler

    Since I don’t drink much wine, I didn’t know that there were different types of corks. Thanks for the info.

  • I don’t mind plastic corks at all, and at times even prefer them. I’ve brought three bottles home over the years that suffered from cork taint which as you point out isn’t an issue with plastic corks. I’m not against screw caps either. As long as the wine is sealed from the air that’s what counts, so maybe boxed wines will also catch on more in the future 😉 The one case of tainted cork was for an Idaho wine bought at my local Costco. It was actually quite comical taking it back. I hadn’t opened it, but noticed the top of the cork showed red wine stain and it had seeped along the side. It was clear the clerk had probably never opened a bottle of wine in her life and had no idea why I wanted to return it. The next bottle also showed the same, so I returned it as well. I then ended up emailing the corporate Costco email address, and the the next time I visited that batch was no longer being sold. They also sent a personalized thank you note, once again proving Costco is great when it comes to customer service.

    • Scottmhuntington

      Haha wow that’s pretty funny about the clerk. And very nice that Costco sent a thank you note! That kind of thing doesn’t happen enough.