For the last few hundred years, a lot of special oak trees have been de-barked every once in awhile so the world could stuff bits of it into bottles. This was a "stopper". It stopped what ever was inside from coming out.
For some strange reason, the only mass produced beverage still using this closure is wine. Because it's an imperfect but natural product it has a tendency to spoil wine on occasion.
The solution is to use artificial 'inert' products to seal the bottles.
As you may have already noticed, more and more wine producers are turning to various manufacturers for a whole range of different closures.
And we're going to see more. But don't toss your corkscrew yet.
Corks won't disappear completely over the next few years but their role is diminishing. The replacements are various type of plastic blown or extruded to look like cork. The other big contender is the old reliable screwcap. This technology is growing fast and is eating up market share. Taste trials reveal that wine in a screw cap bottle may actually age some wines better than the traditional cork.
Wine makers feared the public would be put off when their expensive wine showed up in bottles with twist off tops. But early reports suggest the folks are taking it in stride.
Waiters and sommeliers are still trying to glamorize their tableside presentation. It's just not the same when you present the esteemed vintage and then casually rotate the top counterclockwise.