Cork & Corkcsrews


So, here comes a topical and critical question about drinking fine wine - does it matter if the stopper is cork, imitation cork, plastic or a screw top?

When people question the quality of a wine without a traditional cork, is this not another example of wine snobbery? If it is not, do we have a corkscrew preference; I do.

Perhaps a little discussion on the topic would be of interest, or am I nailing my colours to the wine snob mast too much?

Any thoughts?

Re: Cork & Corkcsrews

Once you have located your corkscrew and checked that it isn’t bent or broken you remove the cork only to discover that, maybe because you stored the bottle upright, the cork has dried out and your wine is now vinegar. Perhaps you did store the bottle correctly and the cork did fit adequately and did not dry out but unfortunately some cork loving organism has discovered your wine and destroyed it. You could be lucky and just have bits of flaked cork floating in your wine. Ok, the wine was good but you don’t want to have the whole bottle so you try to reseal the bottle; but maybe a screw top would have been more convenient than trying to find and refit the cork or use your plastic stopper or whatever.

Yes, I do prefer screw tops.

Re: Cork & Corkcsrews

So here is the deal. In the long history of wine (and the cork closure), even though high quality screws have been around for years, it has only been a moment.

Part of the resistance has been change. But the other part is that the screws were untested for long term aging of wine. Actually, until quite recently, screws were all too good at keeping air out, and were having a slowing effect on the aging process. This can be both good or bad, depending on the situation.

I like cork. It is a renewable resource. I also like my corkscrew. But screws are great too, and I am thrilled to get quality wine with a quick release top (fantastic especially for parties and picnics).

I really try to judge the wine by the juice. Not the closure, or even the label. I will go so far as to say, not even by the appelation or the grape! So take that mister snobbypants.

(plastic can be colorful, but I think it’s nasty)

Tell me what you eat, and I’ll tell you who you are.

Re: Cork & Corkcsrews

I have to agree with my50cheeses, I’m still waiting for results for long cellaring. Afterall all plastics decay and release atoms. Afterall, that is what is usually left as a film on your car’s inside windows.

Re: Cork & Corkcsrews

I’m going to avoid the discussions about the quality resulting from the screw top and touch on something else.

It changes part of the ritual as a whole.

There is so much less to do with a screw top, it’s anti-climatic.

So it very well might produce better results (I do purchase bottles with screw tops), but it takes away from what could be considered the “experience” as a whole.

Do I think things are going to change ? For sure.

Re: Cork & Corkcsrews

Thanks Brett, you’ve just hit on what has been bothering me about screw tops. I instinctively felt there was something better about bottles with corks, but didn’t really know why. You’ve made me realize that what I miss is that satisfying pop as the cork comes out.

Re: Cork & Corkscrews

I’m joining on the Brett & Peter bandwagon. I have been a fan of Australian wines for a few years now and I believe they are at the forefront of the screwtop movement. While I was initially intrigued by the simplicity and convenience, I’ve found that I, too am enamored by the ritual of actually uncorking a bottle of wine. Having said that, I do not care for synthetic corks in the least — not only do I find them more difficult to remove, but there is something artificial about them (like carob chips or veggie bacon) that simply doesn’t agree with me.

So I say cork over screwtop, but screwtop over syntheteic cork.

Re: Cork & Corkscrews

I find it almost impossible to put the synthetic cork back in the bottle the way I can with a cork… which means an end to pulling the cork out with my teeth. So I guess I am with the corkists too.

Re: Cork & Corkcsrews

I started this one, so I better add a few choice words of my own!

As I continue to open wines on a regular basis, some expensive others less so, I relish the decision each time of which corkscrew to use.

Having once worked in corkscrew manufacture (perhaps that gives away my ID to some people) and owning a collection of over 30 varieties, it never ceases to amaze me how much pleasure can be derived from the opening process. Yes, for me the experience is made more complete by cork pulling, rather than cap screwing.

However, I disagree with David; who would want to use their teeth! Cork first for me every time. Synthetic cork, though environmentally less sound does also give that right amount of stubborn resistance I desire. It is almost as though the bottle fighting me off - I relish the challenge of a really stubborn cork and I am encouraged to use one of the more reliable corkscrews: The Victor (1890), an open frame, double action model from 1900, or if all else fails I’m forced into bringing out Hipkin’s Signet (1880), which has never failed me yet!

Any comments appreciated.

Re: Cork & Corkcsrews

I have the sneaking suspicion that screw tops are to corks as cd’s were to vinyl in the 1980’s. Like it or not we’re probably going to have to get used to the new technology.

Although I love the good pop of a cork, I’m not enough of a wine enthusiast to relish the stubborn cork and I’m too cheap to put up with the occasional corked bottle turning to vinegar. Screws make caring for wine that much easier and that is a good thing in my book.

Also, I’m all for anything that makes wine more accessible. And from my point of view, screws preserve quality while giving wine makers new challenges that may just allow for some interesting new discoveries. I may occasionally miss the wonderful sound of the pop, but I’ve usually forgotten about my nostalgic loss by the time I have my first sip.