While on a wine tour of our Viticulture and Enology program at the Southwest Wine Center at Yavapai College, in Clarkdale, Arizona, my guests and I were amazed to learn that this teaching winery is contemplating utilizing a sugar cane cork for some of their rose’ and white wines.
What is a sugar cane cork? They are plant-based synthetic corks made from non-GMO sugar cane and are manufactured by the Nomacorc company in Brazil. These corks are marketed as 100% recyclable with zero carbon footprint and consistent oxygen control. I personally haven’t seen one yet, but they are reported to have a similar appearance to natural cork.
Sustainability is a driving force for many of the vineyards and winemakers in Arizona, and the choice of wine bottle closures is no exception.
Substitutions for natural cork have been going on for quite a few years and we’ve seen movement towards synthetic corks and metal screw tops, both of which are not the best choice for sustainability and our environment.
It will be interesting to see how these new corks will be received and how this newer material will maintain and age the wines, prevent TCA, and impact sustainability.
Sue Schurgin is the manager of Sedona Wine and Beer Tours. She is studying for her CSW and sommelier certifications.