Look, Ma, No Cork!

Good wines now come with screw caps, pop tops and paper bottles

The combination of corks and wine bottles was a great innovation in the 1600s. But while a lot has changed since then, most natural corks haven't--at least not enough. They still dry out, crumble and shrink as they age. Some don't ever fit right, allowing air in to oxidize the wine and turn it stale. And then there's "cork taint," those moldy smells and tastes caused by trichloranisole, a chemical that some experts estimate adversely affects up to 10% of all bottles of wine. (Synthetic corks solve some of those issues but raise their own.) Recently, however, the search for alternatives...

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