I was watching CNBC News yesterday and they ran a short but informative segment on Portugal’s campaign to revitalize their cork industry. We know Portugal is in dire economic straits and needs a boost in their economy, and perhaps using their corks on bottles of wine will help. The TV segment prompted me to write this post. I’m very old fashioned when it comes to wine closures. Most of my 40-year career of wine drinking has involved opening wines with a real cork. I get a thrill each time I use my waiter’s corkscrew to open my wine. There is nothing like that popping sound when I pull the cork from the bottle. That sound has come to mean something very special to me, one that signifies I am about to embark on very pleasurable adventure.
On weekdays I usually enjoy wines well under the $20 range, so that means I am going to get many bottles of wine with screw tops or synthetic corks. My least favorite closure is the synthetic cork. I don’t like the texture or the smell, and I doubt if there is any possible way to recycle this product.
Screw caps are okay but they are for wines that I am not going to store in my wine cellar. I know there has been a lot of research about screw caps showing that they improve wine over time. But to my simple way of thinking, oxygen is not getting into the wine as it does with a cork. How is it able to do its magic on Cabernet Sauvignon wines and the like, that mellow and soften and fill your palate with wonderful characteristics as they age over time? It may be all in my head but I am not about to store any screw top wine and save it for more than a year. When I see a screw top on a wine bottle, my mind says drink it now, because it is not going to change for the better from one year to the next.
A few months back I attended the Silver Oak Winery’s event for wine bloggers. Winemaker Daniel Baron talked about wine closures and gave a very long and passionate pitch for putting a real cork on a good wine. Here is a little bit of what he said.
I do have a disclosure to make. Last month the Portuguese Cork Association placed an ad promoting corks on four of my Webpages on WCG. If the screw cap industry wanted to advertise on WCG, I would gladly accept their ads. I show no bias when it comes to making a little extra income so I can travel the wine world and buy better wines