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Reply to "Rubber corks"

quote:
Originally posted by Sleepyhaus:
I would love to see some winemakers chime in here, but I do believe (based on prior iterations of this discussion) that most wineries can get absolute top grade cork from reputable producers with proven low failure rate for far, far less than $1 and probably less than .25. I'm not saying that there aren't more expensive out there, but what difference really is made?

I suspect that the synthetics have a vastly higher failure rate over three years than the natural corks as far as that goes. OTOH I am fine with screw caps for the short term but skeptical for aging.

Lastly, as far as I have seen German producers have been the largest adopters of the glass closure, and I have found it to be an interesting idea but have far too little data to know how this effects the longer view. It does seem that the corks previously used by German producers (at least in my wine buying lifetime) were amongst the worst in the wine world, so any change may well be a good change.

I'm not a winemaker, but I am pretty sure there is no way you can buy "absolute top grade" corks for "far less than $1," or for anywhere near .25¢. I usually deal with EU wineries, and I most often hear a range from .80 Euro cents to 1.5 Euros for what the winemakers say are top grade corks. I don't think it's the case with my winemakers that they inflate the cork costs to prop up their wine prices, particularly since these are quite expensive wines anyway, but even if I do allow for some exaggeration, I can't see cost getting "far below" $1; chopping off 25% from the top and bottom of that range still lands the range, in USD, .80¢-$1.50. I even know of an amazing, proprietary 4pc cork made exclusively for Boerl & Kroff Champagne that costs an astounding €12!

The difference made between the grades of corks is more consistent performance over longer periods. I'm also pretty sure highest grade corks have lower risk of tainting wine, as there are fewer imperfections in the cork where dangerous compounds (e.g. TCA) can form, and later, through which wine can soak reaching those compounds.
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