Can Wine Bottles with Screw-on Tops Be Used for Long Term Wine Storage?

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While wine bottles are commonly sealed with a cork, more and more winemakers use screw tops, sometimes called screw caps.

For hundreds of years, cork has been the preferred way to seal wine, but screw caps have become common since their invention in the 1950s. At first, screw tops were only associated with cheap wine, but screw caps can now be found on expensive bottles.

Aside from cork being an easy to attain material, there is another reason a winemaker may have chosen cork to seal bottles --- the proper amount of oxidization. Since cork is a porous material, winemakers have designed their wines to age over time by allowing the right amount of air to enter the bottle through the cork. This is why wine is traditionally stored on its side to keep the cork wet and minimize oxidization. Just enough air and the wine will develop its taste as it was intended. Too much air and the wine will lose its flavors and aromas.

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A screw top seal on a wine bottle, unlike cork, is impervious. No air can enter the bottle. A screw cap's impermeability means that the wine inside is exactly as the winemaker has intended. For example, if you were to cellar two of the same bottles of wine with screw caps, they would taste the same once they are opened. If you were to cellar two bottles of the same wine with a screw top, they would taste noticeably different once uncorked. Some may say that screw caps are not intended for long term storage, but there is no solid evidence to show that wine closed with a screw top will taste better or worse than wine that has been corked.

Can wine bottles that have been sealed with a screw top be used for long term storage? Yes, they can. When storing wine with a screw cap, temperature control is still important. There is no need to store the bottle on its side since there is no cork to wet. When opening the bottle, no tools are needed! Simply twist the cap off to enjoy.