Screw you and go cork yourself: a debate about wine

Am I a wine-snob? I don’t think so; not really. I am a cheese-snob, a bit of a film-snob, and most definitely a book-snob. But wine? Not so much. I can down a ropey bottle of plonk with the best of them and still enjoy it.

However…

If the wine is furnished with a screw cap as opposed to a cork… well, then I’ll turn up my nose, mumble something derogatory under my breath, and walk away. Well, at least that’s what I’d like to do. In reality, I’ll just mumble something derogatory under my breath and drink it anyway (I won’t be happy about it, though).

But why? What is it about screw-cap wine that invokes this reaction in me?

Cork LOVE

Most of my family and friends don’t get my aversion to screw caps and think that I’m being a bit of a ponce, and that once the stuff’s in the glass, who cares how it’s been packaged? But that’s just it. For me, the whole experience begins long before the wine even gets to the glass.

In a nutshell, I feel screw caps cheapen the wine. For instance, as you browse the wine aisle in a supermarket, you will begin to see more and more screw caps as the price begins to drop. Why? Because screw caps are cheaper than cork, that’s why. Ergo: the wine looks cheaper than its corked counterparts; not simply for the money that has been spent to seal the bottle, but also because the aesthetics of a nobly screw-cap cannot compare to that slender grace of a bottle sealed with a cork. In search of an analogy — it’s like stripping that beautiful red paint off a Ferrari and slapping on an DIY exterior gloss instead. The car’s performance won’t be affected – but it won’t be anywhere near as appealing.

Granted, this may simply be an argument over presentation. But presentation’s half the fight, isn’t it? Wine with a cork looks traditional; it has a certain elegance to it; it’s something I want to drink.

But this is not just about presentation. It’s the whole ceremony and anticipation that goes with opening a bottle of vino: that lip-licking moment as you peel away the layer of foil to reveal the cork; that moment of panic when you realise you can’t find the corkscrew (which only serves to further the anticipation as you scramble through kitchen drawers in dread horror at the thought of having to drink a soda with your steak). But then – finally – that wonderful moment as you pull the cork from the bottle with a satisfying ‘pop’.

Of course, there’s always the chance that it’s corked, but that only serves to up-the-ante and introduce a further moment of suspense – that gambler’s rush: Is the wine ok, or have I just bought an expensive bottle of vinegar?

Then you sniff the cork. Mmmmm. Not at all. And not only is the wine perfect, but that aroma of a cork tip soaked in red wine is just delicious.

The screw-cap option, of course, is quick twist of the wrist; no anticipation; no panic; no gambling; no fun. You may as well be opening a bottle of Coke (other soft drinks are available). And have you ever bothered to sniff a screw cap? It doesn’t smell of anything. Boring.

Now, I know that were I faced with a genuine connoisseur of wine, I would probably loose this argument hands-down, as it’s been proved that screw-caps are much better at doing the job of sealing and storing wine. But I’m not having this debate with a wine connoisseur. I’m having a moan. On my blog. And that’s all there is to it.

So what type of wine drinker are you? A cork-head? A screw-cap capitulator? An indifferent fence-sitter? It’s time to make a stand people…

Thanks for reading.

While I’m only here for a rant, I have included a couple of interesting articles looking further at this debate:

http://www.thedrinksbusiness.com/2012/07/top-ten-trends-of-the-last-ten-years-8-the-wine-closure-debate/

http://winefolly.com/tutorial/corks-vs-screw-caps/

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A26966-2004Oct12.html

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6 comments on “Screw you and go cork yourself: a debate about wine

  1. Kate Loveton says:

    I love wine! Much to my waist line’s chagrin, oh, I do love wine. All varieties and colors, from sweet to dry, from tart to smooth. I love wine tastings. I’ve hosted a few.

    I do not love corks. Ah, my friend, there I part company with you. I grant all you say about presentation and share, to a certain extent, the snobbery over the classy cork compared to the lowly screw cap.

    But I have learned to love the screw cap. So much easier than the cork, so much more convenient (for me).

    But you’re right: no one is every going to sniff a screw cap! 🙂

    Loved this amusing post.

  2. They’re both a step up for me as I often drink wine from a box, but if I want that special experience it’s gotta be a cork.

    • gpeynon says:

      Ha! I hadn’t even considered the wine box in this debate. I do love the tap-thing that goes with wine boxes; it puts you that one step closer to drinking straight from the barrel.

  3. Can’t really comment on this, seeing as I drink beer and whiskey!

    But if I was a wine drinker, I would definitely agree with you! 🙂

    • gpeynon says:

      Thanks, it’s nice to know at least some people agree with me. I myself am a whiskey drinker too. A nice Islay single malt would be my tipple of choice – the smokier the better… just so long as it doesn’t have a screw cap.

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