When I (Rebecca) worked for a boutique wine shop I remember feeling self-conscious whenever I chose to work with an awesome wine packaged with a screwcap. I personally felt like a trader to the tradition of uncorking a bottle of wine even though the wine quality was in the bottle, as it were. And whether absurd or not, I wasn’t the only one; I knew it would be a tougher “sell”.
So I called it out, ahead of the inevitable question “won’t my friends think that’s a cheap wine?” and worked harder to convince people to take a leap of faith. I probably had a 60/40 success rate.
In writing this piece, I realized I no longer even think about the type of closure a bottle has when I curate a flight of wine for an event. In fact, it’s not until we pull the wines out of their boxes during set-up that we (re)discover which are screwcaps, cork, synthetic, crown (yep! – the same as beer bottles) or glass stops.
Now when we spot at least one wine has a screwcap, we sigh in relief. We know the wine won’t be impacted with cork taint. And since we will only have to open that wine with a quick twist of the wrist, we’re better able to keep guests seamlessly engaged, not having to physically work a corkscrew while geeking out about the wine. Convenience and consistency are our best friends.
Instead of being a sign a wine is cheap, mainstream or basic, closures today are simply a sign of the times. Good ones!
New technologies, systems and processes are perpetually evolving to help us do things better. And we’re thankful the wine industry is no exception. Still, we hear you – the physicality of using a corkscrew definitely taps into our nostalgia for tradition. In the publishing world this could be related to hardcover, paperback or e-reader.
So let’s be fair and dig into WHEN the closure could impact your opinion and experience with a wine, rather than just an added bonus of convenience:
FIRST. For the great wines out there that are intended to be or are better when consumed “young,” screwcaps simply aid and abet!
SECOND. For those occasions when a wine will benefit from aging, screwcap closures could impact that success. But not necessarily…
Check it out:
- Not all screwcaps are created equal. Winemakers have control over which style of screwcap closure they wish to use. Some wines that simply benefit from a little time in the bottle (for flavors to integrate, tannins to mellow and the like – kind of like your soup being better on day 2) may also benefit from a little teeny tiny breath of fresh air via the carefully crafted foil “seal” that exists (or doesn’t) under the lid.
- There are high end winemakers in this category who have been bottling with screwcaps for a while now (aka at least a decade) with happy results.
- And their innovation is being rewarded with a recent study that proves (the operative word!) wines can age well with a screwcap closure. These wines not only exhibit terciary nuances that only time can impart, they also deliver greater freshness (i.e. acidity remains intact).
Bottom Line? Screwcap wine closures are like driving home from work every day withOUT traffic. It’s hard to argue with convenience and consistency, right? Besides, there are still plenty of other closures out there, for the days you don’t want to do the twist and shout!