Randall Grahm, Bordeaux consultant Pascal Chatonnet and other international wine professionals are meeting in Napa for ‘the Great Cork Debate’ later this month.

Veteran journalist George Taber will moderate the October 27 event at Copia, the American museum of wine, food and the arts.

Taber’s new book To Cork or Not to Cork takes an ‘agnostic’ stand, he told decanter.com.

‘In the book and in real life I am agnostic about closures. I think we have not yet found the perfect closure. All of them have their strengths and their weaknesses.’

The panel includes Grahm of Bonny Doon Vineyards in Santa Cruz advocating screw caps, Bruno de Saizieu, commercial director for Alcan Packaging Capsules, Carlos de Jesus of Portuguese cork producer Amorim, and oenologist Chatonnet, whose Excel laboratory in Bordeaux is a forerunner in research into cork taint.

de Jesus said, ‘I am certain that despite the complexity of an issue that involves countless marketing, technical and scientific aspects, the event will contribute to a more in-depth understanding of what is at stake for winemakers, wine distributors and wine drinkers. Personally, I can hardly wait for the debate.’

Taber’s book contains research into and analysis of different wine closures: natural cork, plastic corks, and screwcaps. It demonstrates the issue of which is the best closure is far from being an open-and-shut case.

‘I think a lot more research needs to be done on several fronts. We need to see if the major investments made by the cork companies are paying off in lower TCA. We need to see how new products like the Diam cork will work in the long run,’ said Taber.

Written by Janice Fuhrman