Why are there different wine stoppers ?
Currently, cork is used for most wine bottles in the world. It is the first material that has been used for its properties:
- being resistant to moisture and elastic, it can insulate the wine from external agents
- the natural microporosity allows the exchange of gases
- allows wine to live and mature in glass over time
Microscopic cork cells have a honeycomb structure that contains a gas very similar to air, naturally providing, qualities such as elasticity, sealing, or sound insulation.
The cork is produced from the bark of the cork oak (Quercus Suber), a tree that can reach 10 to 15 meters and can live up to 200 years. The largest cork oak forests are in Portugal, which is also the largest producer of cork stoppers. Obtaining a cork is not easy at all: the oak bark is harvested only when it has reached 25 years of age, and then it can be done only after 9 years, because the oak must have enough time to regenerate.
NATURAL CORK STOPPERS
For still wines there are the classic corks made of natural cork, which can be used for all types of wine (especially for those in the premium category, which are to be aged) and whose properties are listed above. The natural technical plug, very stable and resistant, consists of a cylindrical body of powder or microgranules of combined cork and a disc of natural cork at each end.
The plugged natural cork is a natural cork with a layer of cork dust that covers it for a higher sealing capacity.
The micro-agglomerated cork stopper is obtained by gluing 0.52-1 mm cork granules, it has good mechanical and sealing properties.
The agglomerated cork stopper is obtained by pressing and gluing cork granules 2-4 mm in diameter. Both are recommended for everyday wines.
They consist of aluminium products with saranex lining (a plastic material that acts as a protection against agents such as oxygen, water vapor, odours or many chemical agents).
Screw caps are recommended for young, full, live wines because they keep their freshness and there is no risk of a cork defect. They are very popular in Australia and New Zealand, where they are used for both red and white wines.
There are also options with threaded plugs for Prosecco wines or other sparkling wines, which can withstand a pressure of 9 bar. Even if the professionals in the field recognize their qualities, consumers still perceive closed wines as cheap, although this is not always the case.
GLASS STOPPERS (VINOLOK)
Although there are some corks designed to preserve the aroma and quality of the wine after opening until the next consumption, glass corks are starting to be more and more appreciated by wine producers and today you can find commercially sealed wine bottles with such corks.
With the glass stoppers, you can close and lightly open the wine bottle whenever you want, without using the corkscrew.
These stoppers seal the glass and reduce the risk of oxidation, and have no influence on the aroma of the wine and reduce the risk of its oxidation by sealing the glass.
As a feature, the wines, sealed in the glass, age more slowly.
SYNTHETIC CORK STOPPERS
It looks like a cork and allows the wine to breathe, but they are made of elastomers. These corks came from the need to avoid mold - because plastic cannot be attacked by mold, like natural cork. Sometimes, wines with synthetic stoppers can acquire a chemical aroma.
There is no absolute truth when it comes to choosing a type of stopper for a bottle of wine. Each of them comes with its own advantages and disadvantages. It is important that when you buy a bottle of wine you should make sure that it has been stored properly.