I recently heard someone say, “I wouldn’t dare give a wine that came in a screw top bottle.” Well that is sooooo wrong. There are many wonderful wines that you would miss out on.
Natural corks are made from the bark of cork trees grown in Spain and Portugal and sometimes contain a chemical compound called TCA (trichloranisole). TCA can interact with wine and cause taint. If this happens, we say the wine is “corked.” The aroma is similar to smelly cardboard, which is not a good smell coming from a wine bottle. It is estimated that 7 percent of natural corks have developed taint, which his why many winemakers are turning to alternative closure methods.
New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs are now made exclusively with screw tops and many of their Pinot Noirs are screw tops as well. New Zealand is making some of the best Sauvignon Blanc in the world right now. We had several gold medal winners during the 2008 Los Angeles International Wine & Spirits Competition.
All of Australia’s white wines and many of its red wines are made with screw tops as well. Here in California there are many wonderful wineries that are using the screw top and alternative closures, such as the Zork, and plastic corks. Bonny Doon Winery promoted the death of the cork with a whole series of new bottle designs. Now many winemakers have developed new bottle designs that include the closures.
Among the Gold Medal Wines in the 2008 wine competition about 20 percent were alternative closures. I love the romance of opening a bottle of wine and saving the cork. During the gold medal tasting at the Los Angeles International Wine & Spirits Marketplace, if a person loved the wine we would give them the cork as a souvenir. It often contains the winery website or fun info and it’s a way to remember the wine.
So put aside your prejudices. If someone gives you a bottle of wine with a screw top give them a nice hug and drink up.