Oh screw it!

Brynn writes:

In recent years I’ve noticed a lot of articles and research on whether it’s better to stick to the old way of stopping wine — using a traditional cork — or moving to the newer practice of screw cap closures.

Nowadays there’s three ways to stop a wine: the “old fashion” way of using natural cork, using a synthetic cork, or using a screw cap. Some winemakers swear by natural corks, while others swear at them because of cork taint that occurs in about 10 percent of all wines.

Randall Grahm, founder of California’s Bonny Doon Winery, stands by his decision to switch all of his closures to screw caps about 10 years ago. He made quite the public display at New York’s Grand Central Station in 2002 when he announced his departure from corks to screw caps.

Locally, Hogue Cellars just completed an extensive five-year study that lead to the decision that all of its bottles will be closed with screw caps. This comes after the first study the winery conducted that resulted in it transitioning 70 percent of its product to screw caps. To see the complete research, including pdf documents from the study’s findings, visit the “Twist Open” Hogue site.

I know Mary likes screw caps because it makes it easier to transport and close wine after opening it. As she said: “Love them. I adore them.” Because wines are usually consumed a year after being purchased, there really is no reason to cork them, she said. However, if there’s a special, high-end wine out there that you plan to lay down for a few years, as Mary said: “Put a cork in it!”

I have to say, I was on the fence initially with screw caps, thinking they made the wine look cheap. Mind you, this is me being stuffy and superficial, because I’ve had some great wines that came from a screw cap enclosure. In recent years my opinion has swayed and now I’m not going to reject a bottle because it isn’t corked.

There’s definitely a convenience factor of screw caps — like when you’re in a hotel room in a foreign city and you realize as you stare at the bottle of wine you just bought that you forgot to pack your wine opener. With a screw cap you’ll never face that problem again.

If you want to read more about the decision by Hogue to screw cap all its wines, visit the Washington Wine Report blog and Sean Sullivan’s post about the study.