During my recent trip to Portland, I took a tour of several wineries in the Willamette Valley. Sound pretentious I’m sure, but if you read my previous article, Welcome to Portland, then you know I needed a drink bad. But to be honest, it’s a blast. For about $100 you can have someone drive you around all day to different wineries where you get to taste all the wine they offer and essentially blackout in the classiest manner possible. Unless of course you were the sorority girls who passed out in our van after the last stop and spilled a whole bottle of wine in the backseat. Plus, most of the people working at the wineries are the coolest people you’ll meet, so at the very least you’ll get to talk to some cool people and learn a lot about wine.
At one of the wineries, our expert brought out a bottle of wine which had a twist top. Now that we had been to two wineries before this and were officially wine snobs, we were entitled to ask, “That has a twist top, is that one of your cheaper wines? We’re not paying per taste so we only want the expensive stuff.” [All while adjusting my monocle of course]. This in fact was one of their best wines, and our guide went on to explain the truth about corks vs screw tops.
Most wineries prefer to use screw tops instead of corks. While the traditional form of wine sealant is cork, it has been known to be faulty at times and has led to an unnecessarily high percentage of bottles wasted. This is a huge problem because wineries can only supply a limited amount of wine each year. Screw tops on the other hand have been known to keep wine fresher for longer and is essentially more eco-friendly since it reduces the amount of waste created by cork. Not to mentioned it is much cheaper to use. Unfortunately, the public still views the screw top as a sign of cheap or low quality wine, so wineries are forced to use cork in order to maintain sales.
As someone who considers wine with a screw top to be cheap and of low quality, I found this news to be shocking. But I was pleasantly surprised and actually excited to hear this news. Think about it, struggling with the cork to open the bottle of wine is the absolute worst part about wine. When you’ve had a rough day and just want to relax in your birthday suit and binge watch Netflix while drinking wine, a cork is the last thing you should have to worry about. Especially if you have company and need to open the bottle of wine without embarrassing yourself, that’s when things are most likely to go wrong. Yes I know they have wine openers out there that make this easy. I even have a pretty good wine opener that makes the job incredibly easy, but it’s still not perfect. I often end up with a broken cork or a cork that ends up in the bottle instead of on the counter. Yeah that doesn’t stop me from drinking it. One thing being a wine drinker has taught me is how to cope. I don’t care if there’s cork floating around in the wine, I’ll spit it out like watermelon seeds as I sip my wine.
Everything in our society today is designed to make our lives easier. Amazon allows us to buy in one click. Uber delivers us food from anywhere so we don’t leave the house. Yet we still continue to struggle with the cork. We need to change our perception about the screw top and start ditching the cork. I haven’t purchased wine with a cork since hearing this and will continue to do so, unless of course they start offering an option that has the straw built into the cap, but straws are a thing of the past so I guess I’ll settle for screw top for now.
One more note about Corks: If you do insist on buying wine bottles with cork, you have to store them on their sides. The wine seeps into the cork keeping it expanded and preventing too much air from coming in. If you keep it vertical, the cork will contract slightly and allow more air to come in, essentially spoiling the wine. The more you know.