Why Screw Caps Are No Longer a Stigma

by in Drinks, January 12th, 2012

screw cap wine bottle
If anything should convince you of my position on screw caps, consider the stated location on my Twitter profile: “wherever corks pop and caps snap.”

Yes, I give equal status to corks and screw caps because both are perfectly fine bottle enclosures. Just a generation ago, the thought of packaging wine like soda pop would have prompted connoisseurs to raise their corkscrews in a vampire cross.

These days enthusiasts know that quality wine is often packaged with twist-off tops, making the wine not only easier to open but also protecting it from cork taint, which is that basement-floor, mildewy smell that experts estimate affects at least 5 percent of all cork-enclosed bottles.

I know what you’re thinking: “But the inglorious snap of a screw cap ruins wine’s sophisticated aura, which is part of the reason why I’m drinking it in the first place.”

I say fear not, brave drinker. At times when first impressions count, such as at an important business meeting or a hot date, simply drape a towel over the neck of the bottle and pull the cap away inside the towel. Better yet, open the screw-off bottle in another room, pour the wine into a glass decanter and your guests will never know that they are drinking wine opened with a humble crack.

Every week, Mark Oldman — wine expert, acclaimed author and lead judge of the hit series The Winemakers — shares with readers the basics of wine, while making it fun and practical. In the coming weeks, he’ll tell you what to ask at a wine store, at what temperature to serve it and share his must-have wine tools.

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Comments (19)

  1. Guest says:

    I ABSOLUTELY CANNOT BELIEVE that FN has allowed 'the pioneer woman' back on the air! WHAT A WASTE!!! Insulting, uninspiring, SAD! Are there really so many people in the world that have no idea how to cook that we must put this amatuer on TV? And the annoying factor couldn't be any higher…can't properly pronounce words (ball-sam-ic), high pitch squeaky voice, and BS until the cows come home.
    PS – I am leaving a comment here because the two previous blogs for this wretched show have had to be disabled because there were so many negative comments…should that tell you something FN????

    • Guest says:

      I think it would be appropriate to turn the channel. Her blog is hugely popular and she has a following.

      • Guest says:

        Being a blogger does not mean you can cook, and having a following does not constitute a television show…her followers should follow her all day long on her blog and retrieve those redundant, kindergarten level recipes there. This would not waste the time of people who are serious about cooking and have already figured out how to pour BALL-SAM-ICK vinegar over tomatoes. Seriously pathetic!

  2. RuthAnn says:

    Now back to the blog itself……I have always been a cork snob myself. However I am trying more and more screw tops. While I always feel like a "back alley wino" when I open one, I have to admit, it does not have a negative effect on the flavor of the wine. I love your suggestion of opening it in another room, pouring it in a nice decanter and then taking it into your guests.

  3. Guest says:

    …I even go for a good boxed wine now and then!

  4. LarryA says:

    While I do love the ritual of uncorking a bottle, the reality is that screw caps are actually better than corks.

    • winemakler says:

      The screw caps are much better closure for many different reasons. I have been preaching about the merits of the screw caps for years and some people still do not get it-it is for your own benefit as a consumer. You'll get a 99.9% every time of wine the way it is intended to be by the winemaker.

  5. Doc says:

    Wine makers must secretly hate their wine when they put stinking, rotten, bacteria laden corks in to the bottles. What other industry can get away with knowingly ruining 5-10% of their product just for wanting to follow tradition. Where can I go to get a refund for all my expensive, corked wine over the years.

  6. Red Wine Diva says:

    Up until about 5 years ago, I was embarrassed to share a screw cap bottle of wine with friends. Invariably I would get comments about it not being real wine or being cheap wine. Now I don't even look at the closure when choosing my wine.

  7. CabGuy says:

    Do you still have to store wine on its side if it has a screw top enclosure?

  8. grapefriend says:

    love 'em for the right wines – so easy! http://grapefriend.com/2011/07/12/screw-cap-wine-

  9. southernvegan says:

    Maybe it rings of Annie Green Springs wine of the early 70's. You know the koolaid wine, we as teenagers would pay people over 21 to buy for us, so we could get a buzz and hang out with our friends. I have grown up now and prefer the wine with the corks regardless of reasons for putting screwtops on some of my favorite wines. The convenience is greater when you are out at a Mardi Gras Parade, because you do not have to have a corkscrew handy, and you can get it by the 4 pack now, and drink it like a beer, but it does not present the same class when you screw off the top.

  10. Just did a radio segment on closures yesterday and two things were apparent…

    1) If you want some romance with the screwcap closure – grab the decanter, crack and pour it in… problem solved (keep your bottle and cap for later if you need to redistribute) – looks great in a restaurant setting and for the location encourages wine sales!

    2) No one deserves a term such as "failure rate" – sorry cork, your time has come and is on the way out!

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