Seven different types of wine cork and what they do to your plonk

It turns out, not all corks are created equal

Sarah Young
Tuesday 13 December 2016 12:59
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Cork has been the go-to wine stopper since the 17th century and for good reason, but it turns out not all corks are created equal.

While it has a multitude of uses, the wine industry, and us for that matter, have cork to thank for the successful sealing of vino but did you know there are in fact seven different types?

From synthetic stoppers to champagne cork, a wine expert writing for wine app Vivino explains the numerous ways there are to plug your favourite bottle of plonk.

Agglomerate Cork

This is the cheapest of all the corks and is usually held together by chips that have been glued together. Unsurprisingly, this also means that they’re at a greater risk of taint so shouldn’t be used for wines that need aging.

Champagne Cork

We all love the celebratory sound of a cork being pulled from a bottle of champers, but with all those bubbles to withstand they need to be made of sturdier stuff. The average bottle contains well over a million bubbles and more air pressure than your average car so accordingly, champagne stoppers are always produced from high quality compressed cork.

Regular Cork

This is the standard cork you will find in most bottles of vino but there is another type. A longer version, which is used by only a few wineries in the world, has an additional inch in length and as a result, is said to allow wines to keep for much longer.

Synthetic Cork

In the face of traditionalists, many New World producers are favouring plastic corks because of their ability to significantly reduce the risk of tainted wine. And, while they’re not intended for vino that needs aging, they still offer consumers the much loved act of pulling a cork.

Screw Cap

An area of contention in the world of wine, screw caps are often derided but they’re surprisingly beneficial. While they may not give drinkers the most authentic experience, they have been scientifically proven as the best short-term wine stopper for fruit-forward red and whites that don’t require aging.

Vino-Lok

Perhaps the strangest and most technical of all, this stopper is usually made with plastic or glass and uses a hermetic seal to prevent oxygen and bacteria from affecting the wine. It certainly looks the part but, like most refined wines, a classy stopper is going to cost you.

Zork

While this type seals just like a screw cap, it still has that same ‘popping’ experience we associate with a cork. They’re most commonly found on Leese-Fitch bottles and rose to fame as the world’s first on-bottle re-sealable stopper for sparkling wines.

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