Cork VS. Screwcap: Your Choice Can Help Sell Your Wine

Cork vs. Screw Cap: Can Your Closure Choice Help Sell Your Wine?

When it comes to wine, every detail matters, from the vineyard where the grapes are grown to the label on the bottle. One crucial aspect that often sparks debate among winemakers and consumers alike is the type of closure used: cork or screw cap. The choice between these two closure options can significantly influence not only the wine’s preservation but also its marketability. In this article, we will explore the advantages of both cork and screw cap closures, and how your choice can impact the sale of your wine.

The Tradition and Appeal of Cork

  • Natural Elegance – Natural cork has been the preferred closure for wine bottles for centuries. Its traditional appeal and the ritualistic element of opening a corked bottle resonate with many wine enthusiasts. The tactile experience of using a corkscrew and the satisfying pop of the cork are integral parts of the wine-drinking experience.
  • Breathability – Corks provide a natural seal that allows minute amounts of oxygen to interact with the wine over time. This slow, controlled oxidation can be beneficial for certain wines, particularly those meant to age. It helps develop complex flavors and enhances the overall aging process.
  • Premium Perception – Cork closures often carry a perception of quality and prestige. Many consumers associate natural cork with premium wines, believing that higher-end wines are more likely to use corks. This perception can influence purchasing decisions, particularly for consumers who are seeking wines for special occasions or gifts.
  • Sustainability – Natural cork is an environmentally friendly option. Cork trees are not cut down to harvest cork; instead, the bark is carefully stripped and regenerates over time, making it a sustainable resource. Additionally, cork is biodegradable and recyclable, appealing to eco-conscious consumers.

The Modern Efficiency of Screw Caps

  • Consistency and Reliability – Long skirted, machine applied screw caps offer a level of consistency that natural corks cannot always guarantee. Screw caps provide a dependable seal, and eliminate the risk of cork taint (which can spoil the wine and lead to a disappointing experience for consumers).
  • Convenience – One of the most significant advantages of screwcaps is their ease of use. They are simple to open and reclose, making them ideal for casual wine drinkers and situations where convenience is a priority. This can be particularly appealing for outdoor events, picnics, and restaurants.
  • Preservation – Screw caps are excellent at preserving the freshness and intended characteristics of the wine. They prevent unwanted oxidation, which can be crucial for wines meant to be consumed young, such as aromatic whites and rosés. This ensures that consumers enjoy the wine exactly as the winemaker intended. It is important to note that some screw cap manufacturers do offer cap liners with greater breathability for a controlled oxygenation of the wine more conducive to precise planned aging.
  • Changing Perceptions – While screw caps were once associated with lower-quality wines, this perception has definitely changed in the past 20 years. Many premium wineries now use screw caps for their wines, recognizing the benefits they offer. As more consumers become educated about the advantages of screw caps, their acceptance and preference for this type of closure are growing.

    cork vs screw cap

Making the Right Choice for Your Wine

When deciding between cork and screw cap closures for your wine, it’s essential to consider both the type of wine you are producing and your target market.

Wine Type

  • Aging Wines: If your wine is designed to age and develop over several years, natural cork may be the better option. The slow oxygen exchange facilitated by cork can enhance the aging process and add complexity to the wine’s flavor profile.
  • Young Wines: For wines that are intended to be enjoyed soon after purchase, such as fresh whites and rosés, screw caps offer superior preservation of the wine’s original characteristics.

Target Market

  • Traditional Consumers: If your target market consists of traditional wine enthusiasts who value the experience and heritage associated with cork, it might be beneficial to use natural cork closures.
  • Modern Consumers: For a younger, more modern audience that prioritizes convenience and reliability, screw caps could be a more appealing choice.

Brand Positioning

Consider how the closure aligns with your brand’s identity. If sustainability is a core value of your brand, promoting the eco-friendly aspects of natural cork can resonate well with your audience. Green initiatives have greatly improved the sustainability and recyclability of metal screw caps in recent years. Conversely, if your brand emphasizes innovation and modernity, highlighting the practical benefits of screwcaps can reinforce your brand message.

Packaging and Equipment Considerations

The closure you select must be compatible with the bottle you plan to fill.  While this seems like stating the obvious, home winemakers and start-ups often struggle with this reality.  The bottle finish must accept the closure choice to create a reliable seal and perform as expected.  Working with an expert package provider can help you ensure the closure works with your bottle.

  • Corks: There are manual and machine corkers available to wineries of all sizes. Cost of equipment and amount of labor involved has to be considered.  Number of bottles to be filled with any particular wine could dictate which closure choice makes sense for your production.
  • Screw caps: Long-skirted screw caps require machine application. The equipment can be a costly investment for a smaller winery or home winemakers.


The choice between cork and screw cap closures is more than just a technical decision; it is a strategic one that can influence your wine’s marketability. Both closures have their unique advantages, and understanding these can help you make an informed choice that aligns with your wine’s characteristics and your brand’s identity. At Waterloo Container, we offer a range of high-quality Amcor STELVIN® caps and MA Silva natural corks to suit your needs. By selecting the right closure, you can enhance the consumer’s experience and ultimately help boost your wine sales.

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