Environmentalists: “Put a Cork in It”

Cork versus screw cap. Screw cap versus synthetic cork. Just when you thought the balance of power was tilting solidly away from the old standby (which has an unpleasant tendency to spoil wine by introducing a compound known as TCA), there’s a new argument for the old closure.

The AP reports that the renewable nature of cork makes it a popular choice among environmental groups that worry that a traditional, sustainable method of sealing wine is being phased out for a less earth-friendly plug. And there are also the cork forests to be considered:

Cork oak covers about 6.7 million acres in the [Mediterranean] and provides income for more than 100,000 people, according to the World Wildlife Fund.

Cork forests are predominantly privately owned, which puts them at greater risk for neglect or sale for development if the popularity of cork lessens.

And the Rainforest Alliance recently began offering a certification system for wineries to verify that their corks come from forests that meet the group’s social, economic, and environmental standards.

Mar’s Everything opens up a sympathetic blog post by stating:

So for a couple of years I have rejoiced in the rise of the screwtop wine bottle, mainly because I love when ‘traditional’ elitist methods become exposed as a bunch of crap.

... and then wending through the reasoning for going back to cork. It’s a nice example of how facts can sway (some) consumers.

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