Flutterby™! : Screw-caps on wine

Next unread comment / Catchup all unread comments User Account Info | Logout | XML/Pilot/etc versions | Long version (with comments) | Weblog archives | Site Map | | Browse Topics

Screw-caps on wine

2001-07-13 15:39:16+00 by Dan Lyke 8 comments

[ related topics: Wines and Spirits ]

comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment made: 2002-02-21 05:32:09+00 by: other_todd

Ask your average American winemaker (or even some of the European ones) about how he'd dearly love to get away from the cork problem but can't, because the audience thinks that a screwcap automatically connotes Night Train.

I don't have any current citations because I didn't know I'd need to save them, but here's a relevant block from a nice little book called FEAR OF WINE by Leslie Brenner (1995):

"You may be surprised to learn that corks drive winemakers crazy. Due to the growing popularity of wine throughout the world, and the relative paucity of cork trees throughout the world (they grow almost exclusively in Portugal and Spain), winemakers are having a harder and harder time getting quality corks for their wines. As if that weren't enough, the bleaching process used to disinfect corks can cause the formation of a chemical called trichlorophenol (TCA), which results in such an unpleasant smell that the wine is said to be "corked" or "corky," ruining the bottle. Up to five percent of all wine is "corked," and according to Wine Spectator magazine, corked wines cost winemakers and consumers between two billion and three billion dollars a year.

"To that end, some winemakers are experimenting with synthetic corks. Since they know that wine lovers will miss the traditional aspect of real corks, some try to make them look real. Others use brightly colored synthetic corks.

"But synthetic corks won't solve one aspect of the problem that also conspires to drive winemakers nuts: the fact that consumers have such a rough time removing corks from the bottle that it discourages them from buying wine. There is a solution at hand, but it goes so counter to the image and mystique of wine that winemakers are reluctant to use it: the screwtop."

#Comment made: 2002-02-21 05:32:10+00 by: Larry Burton

Something that really surprised me is the fact that I've found several wines sold in boxes that were surprisingly good. This method of packaging is especially kind to white wines that are bought by people that won't drink an entire bottle at a time. The plastic bladder that holds it in the box does an excellent job of preventing oxydation.

#Comment made: 2002-02-21 05:32:10+00 by: TC

Actually living just outside Napa valley, I can tell you, the synthetic corks are "in". everybody is using them now and most are making the polymer look "corkish" but even very high end wineries like Stag's leap & Opus One ($100 plus a bottle) are using the synthetic corks). In my opinion they are much easier to remove.

#Comment made: 2001-07-13 18:39:15+00 by: Dan Lyke [edit history]

But should parents be permitted to drink wine from screw cap bottles?

(Dan ducks back into his hole for the moment, surprised that Todd didn't ask it first.)

#Comment made: 2002-02-21 05:32:11+00 by: dws

The problem with screw caps is that they leave a little ring of metal around the neck of the bottle. That makes it hard warm your refrigerated merlot in the microwave.

#Comment made: 2002-02-21 05:32:11+00 by: Dylan

Parents absolutely shouldn't be permitted to drink wine from screw top bottles, seeing as they'll teach their children that a wine drunk is easy to achieve. Instead, they should drink only Belgian Trappist ales that are really really hard to open. Despite their (truly incredible) potency, these ales will teach children that drinking is more trouble than it's worth.

Extremely drunk on cheap malt liquor, I remain

Yours, Dylan

#Comment made: 2002-02-21 05:32:13+00 by: Jette

Maybe what we need is an expensive, cool-looking little gadget to remove the little metal rings from the bottle necks. Then it would be trendier? Gadgets and toys always help.

#Comment made: 2002-02-21 05:32:13+00 by: Mars Saxman

My girlfriend and I went out to Snoqualmie Pass a few weeks ago for a

midnight stargazing picnic. We stopped by the grocery store on the way

and picked up a bottle of wine, a loaf of bread, some cheese, grapes, etc.

We parked the car, hiked up a small hill, spread out our blanket, and set

to - and then of course discovered that we had no corkscrew. Half an hour

of struggling and swearing later, we macygvered the bottle open with a

screwdriver, a socket wrench, and a key ring. A screw top would have

been most welcome.

Probably two thirds of the bottles I open these days have synthetic corks

anyway. It won't be long, I think, before real cork goes the way of real tinfoil

on Hershey bars, but I doubt the plugged-bottle-neck method of sealing

wine will change anytime soon. It'd be like serving a martini in a Dixie cup.