Katie Madigan

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Using natural cork is still the best closure to preserve and even ENHANCE fine wines. Not only is it natural, sustainable, and recyclable, also a major plus to consumers, but whether they wait ten years or ten minutes to drink the bottle, the history and reputation of natural cork is unsurpassed. There are so many interactions that occur because of the oxygen-exchange using natural cork that we just don’t see with other closures. Yes, some wines do not need to be aged for 10 years; some not even 5. Even so, we should be putting out a dependable, consistent product. Using natural cork helps us to achieve that goal. Many customers view wine as an experience they want to remember. Winemakers help keep those memories alive with the cork. I still have the cork from the magnum of cabernet opened to celebrate my 21st birthday.

Eric Baugher

COO/Monte Bello Winemaker, Ridge Vineyards

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The use of natural cork compliments my goal of conveying a message of tradition and natural winemaking. It provides my customer a great experience as they pull a natural cork from a bottle that they have patiently collected and aged. Natural cork is a mark of quality and collect-ability. It enhances the experience for a consumer by allowing a wine to properly rest and mature, reaching a great point of drinking enjoyment. I can say wine closed under natural cork can predictably reach that point of drinking enjoyment and taste the way I intended it to. The alternatives go off on different paths that deviate away from the intended taste. The wines under alternative closures shut-down, tighten up, lack freshness, and take on plastic or metallic flavors. They are anything but fine wine at that point.

Richie Allen

Director of Viticulture & Winemaking, Rombauer Vineyards

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American consumers still see a natural cork closure as a sign of quality for super-premium wines. Wine-loving consumers also enjoy the sense of romance or celebration that comes in pulling a cork from a bottle of wine. For a cellar-worthy wine, age-ability can be enhanced by a high-quality natural cork closure.

Maggie Kruse

Head Winemaker, Jordan Winery

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Jordan prides itself in making decisions based on quality, and we choose to select the top grade of cork to close our bottles. Our customers have high expectations when they open a bottle of our wine, and we are confident we are doing everything to ensure premium quality both in the wine and closure. Many of our consumers choose to open our wines for a celebration. The presentation of extracting a cork and the sound of the cork are part of the celebration. We have tested alternative closures over the years and while some of the different closures taste great upon release, the cork tends to perform better after additional bottle aging. We continue to believe that cork is the best closure for wines to age gracefully over time.

It’s a natural product that is going to help our wine age perfectly for as long as the consumer wants to cellar it. Corks continue to allow the wines to age but in a much slower rate than when in the cellar. I like to say the cork is the last piece of the puzzle that extends the wines life for many years while allowing it to reach it’s maturity.

Tim Bell

Winemaker, Dry Creek Vineyard

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I believe our customers look at a wine sealed with a natural cork as a marker of high quality. Many consumers enjoy the ceremony and tradition of opening a wine protected by a natural cork. Cork-sealed wines have set the standard for how we expect a wine to age.

Morgan Harris

Head Sommelier, Aureole, New York

There’s simply no equivalent replacement for cork in terms of our expectations around how bottle-aged wines should mature. All of our paradigms around developed fine wines are centered around the slow, steady evolution that cork provides to bottle-matured wines. While cork isn’t a perfect closure, no other technology has been able to replicate the development under real cork that makes bottle-aged wines so magical and thought-provoking.

Chris Cooney

Winemaker, Dana Estates

Natural cork is natural, a renewable closure, that now can be almost 100% guaranteed to be TCA free. It’s a good seal to preserve the wine, and brings a sense of history and winemaking tradition, mixed with technological innovation.

Vic Rallo

Restaurateur and host of the popular PBS TV show Eat! Drink! Italy!, www.victorrallo.com

A cork was a living organism that in its second life allows wine to live and breathe like no other closure. I firmly believe that a wine bottle with a cork is superior to a bottle with any other closure. Recently I did a test with an Italian 2001 DOCG wine that is required to have a natural cork. I opened the same vintage that had been closed with glass as a test for the consorzio. The glass enclosed bottle tasted as if it was bottled yesterday – young, austere, green and in my eyes undrinkable. The 2001 with the natural cork aged as every great wine should. Although I believe this wine had 5-7 great years left, it was drinking perfectly. It was round, elegant and smooth. So yes, the cork matters.

Gianfranco Sorrentino

Restaurateur (www.ilgattopardonyc.com) and Chairman of Gruppo Italiano, the largest association of authentic Italian restaurants in the US

There is still nothing like that feeling of levering a cork out of a special bottle of wine. Pop! And our guests love it. The tradition of pulling the cork and presenting it to the enthusiast wine lover will never die. Natural cork allows oxygen to interact with the wine at a very slow rate, which allows the wine to age gradually over time. I still remember pulling the very long cork from a Gaja Costa Russi 1978, first vintage. I broke it twice. I felt very embarrassed and clumsy but my guest let me taste it and I still remember the warmth of the wine wrapping me. It took me a few seconds to come back to reality and pour the wine.