In this special section of, I'm focusing on one of the key debates in the wine trade—the best way of sealing wine bottles. 

It's a subject that's created a huge amount of controversy, and while there are vocal advocates of both screwcaps and natural corks, there are few information sources that present a balanced picture and which rely on scientific data, rather than anecdotal evidence or just plain prejudice. 

It's also a debate with considerable financial implications for manufacturers of corks and alternative closures, and therefore it's necessary to clarify my stance here: I'm an independent commentator, not a stooge for any cork or closure manufacturers. 

My interest lies in bringing the best evidence and analysis on this subject together in one place for the benefit of my readers. 
Jamie Goode


Corks, plastic and screwcaps: what are the issues
An introduction to the closure debate. If you want an overview of the issues, this is a good place to start

How cork is made
An illustrated guide to the cork production process, including pictures and a video

The closures debate
An edited transcript of the proceedings at the 2006 Closures Debate at the London wine trade fair

News feature: will cork become the sheep-gut condom of our times? Jamie Goode goes beyond the tabloid headlines to discuss the Wine International comparative tasting of cork-sealed and screwcapped wines.

The New Zealand Screwcap Initiative
In New Zealand, the shift to screwcaps has taken place with startling speed: from a standing start in 2000, now 70% of this country's wines are sealed this way. Jamie Goode investigates the official initiative designed to help producers make this transition successfully, and to provide information on this type of closure.

Alternative closures for fine wines
Should synthetic corks or screwtops be used to seal wines intended for long-term ageing? Not yet, argues Jamie Goode. We need to wait for the data.

Articles (cont.)...

Wine bottle closures
My book on closures, published in 2006. This is the first book to provide a comprehensive, data-focused summary of the key issues in the closures debate. Available from 



Back to square one: the WSA musty taint survey
With a fierce debate ranging in the wine trade over the validity of the Wine and Spirit Association’s research into cork taint, Jamie Goode raises doubts over the methodology employed and asks is it time to rip up the report and start again?

Grain of Truth: Sabaté's Altec trial—assessing the performance of a controversial closure and shedding new light on the human perception of TCA
By the end of the 1990s, Sabaté’s Altec closure (a 'technical' cork that is part cork particle, part synthetic) was widely criticised for unacceptable levels of taint. After modifications, the French manufacturer invited experts from the trade and press to test the performance of its old and new closures. Jamie Goode analyses the research model’s openness, methodology and its surprising results.

Taint necessarily solved
Sabaté claims to have come up with a technique for solving cork taint, an ailment that attacks 5% of naturally sealed wines. But will this process, successful in tests, prove viable in mass production? Jamie Goode reports. 

Yet more on corks: towards a balanced perspective
While everyone is probably fed up with the subject of cork taint by now, it's the issue that won't go away. This article is an attempt to forge a balanced position on the basis of good data—and not just anecdotal accounts, strongly held beliefs and murky conflicting interests.

Fighting cork taint: are screwcaps and plastic corks the answer?
Jamie Goode analyses the results from an significant independent study on the effectiveness of wine bottle closures. This scientific paper, published on July 12 2001, has thrown up some surprising results, and the ongoing trial it describes promises to answer the key question of whether alternatives to cork are suitable for long-term ageing of wine.