Wine Talk

Snooth User: Philip James

Do twist-off (stelvin) wine closures make you feel cheap?

Posted by Philip James, Jul 13, 2008.

I was trading messages with Irishgirl over this and we thought we'd start a thread.

My take - yeah, they certainly dont carry the cachet of a real cork, but once its open no one really notices. Also, i'm known for being a bit of a cheapo - i was seen drinking wine out of a tetrapak box recently...

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Replies

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Reply by John Andrews, Jul 13, 2008.

Speaking as a tasting room staffer the perception among the public that I serve is that the wine under a screw cap is definitely cheaper. I have also got the impression that when high-end wine makers are considering using screw caps that it is a result of them going 'down-market'.

As for me, I do feel 'cheap' although, I can't say that I've had an opportunity to try a 'fine' wine from screw capped bottle.

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Reply by Healy, Jul 14, 2008.

I am all for quality screw caps on high end wine. If you're looking for some quality wines with screw caps I'd suggest indulging in some NZ wines, although if you define "fine" wines by price you might not quite get there...

Several studies have started to point out that the screw caps are actually better than corks for storage:

"“After scientifically researching the effects of two kinds of screw caps, two brands of synthetic corks, and the traditional natural cork, we have come to the conclusion that Stelvin screw caps best preserve the quality of wine in the bottle,” says David Forsyth, director of winemaking at The Hogue Cellars.... Overall, the Hogue study revealed that screw cap closures are more superior for maintaining freshness and quality for both wines, but especially in the Chardonnay. For the Merlot, the results are still positive, but the benefits are not as distinct when compared to the Chardonnay." http://www.winepressnw.com/news/sto...

All that being said, there is something highly appealing about the ritual of uncorking a bottle of wine... you just don't get that from screw caps. Maybe someone should invent a screw cap that needs a crazy opening utensil to preserve the act of "uncorking."

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Reply by Mark Angelillo, Jul 15, 2008.

First off -- I'm all for screwcaps.

I really like Healy's suggestion about requiring a utensil to open a screw cap. Not that I'm for making people's lives more difficult but when I screw off the cap I'm left feeling a bit empty... Somehow I was cheated of an experience.

I don't even feel the same when I use something like the Rabbit. In that case I feel like I'm cheating -- in the case of the screw cap I feel like someone is cheating *me*.

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Reply by Mark Angelillo, Jul 15, 2008.

Then again, I hate being caught without a corkscrew when I have a bottle of wine! This can be a real problem when traveling, although I've noticed more and more hotel rooms are stocking corkscrews/bottle openers.

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Reply by Christophe1313, Jul 15, 2008.

Stelvin enclosures make things exceptionally easy on the service side, especially for a large parties, banquets, or weddings. There is something to be said about the ritual of popping a cork. However on that same note, when I crack open a twist off I feel like I just opened a nice bottle of scotch and that gets me just as excited.

In reply to Healy, I am pretty sure I have already read about contraptions to open stelvin enclosures. I do have to say, if I were out dining and my server showed up with a contraption to open the twist off bottle I may fall out of my chair laughing.

Oops, to answer the question. No I don't feel cheap. Wine is wine is wine, who cares how you enclose it as long as the juice in the bottle is worth going into my "drinking vessel" and across my pallet.

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Reply by oceank8, Jul 15, 2008.

I don't feel cheap when opening screw caps and I certainly like them more than those horrid synthetic corks! That being said, there are a lot of people, who usually don't know much about wine, that still associate screw caps with cheap wine or even Boonesfarm. I do worry that others might view me as cheap when serving a screw cap.

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Reply by Philip James, Jul 15, 2008.

Actually, i agree with Ocean - I'd much rather have a screw cap than a bright yellow rubber cork.

I was in a restaurant the other week and was offered a plastic cork to sniff - I thought that was pretty funny.

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Reply by Christophe1313, Jul 15, 2008.

That is funny Phillip. Not a big fan of plastic myself but for the sheer amusement of a server handing over a plastic cork; worth it.

I have to say that the latest enclosures to turn my head are the simple glass enclosures. I would like to see more inertia behind glass. However, it is an expensive alternative as I understand it.

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Reply by Sung, Jul 16, 2008.

I prefer screw caps. I remember back in the day when I didn't know anything, I used to use a cheapo cork screw that required me to hold the bottle between my legs as I pulled the cork out with all my might. So classy!

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Reply by Rodolphe Boulanger, Jul 22, 2008.

Although the glass enclosures are cool, they are so expensive that I doubt they will catch on.

The Stelvin doesn't make me feel cheap... but the plastic and rubber Zork certainly does. At least the rubber corks are getting phased out. They can be touch to get out of the bottle and their seal can fail completely, leaving you cellaring a bottle of vinegar.

Check out this great blog post (with pictures) by our friend Steve DeLong.
http://www.delongwine.com/news/2006...

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Reply by Christophe1313, Jul 22, 2008.

hehe...the zork makes me feel like I'm opening milk

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Reply by JacuzziJulie, Dec 23, 2010.

I've been drinking Hogue Fine wines for decades.  Late Harvest is my favorite wine and when Gary switched to twist off years ago I asked him, "what's up?"  He said we tested it and it's better.  He was right, and really I can tell no difference.  Even after the wine has been stored for a few years they keep very well.  The twist off is now such a convenience that when we are on the go we just grab wines that have a twist. I found this blog when my friend called last night to express her feelings that she got a cheap bottle of wine because it had a twist off.  We had fun today finding the same sorta sigma to change....   Corks are still for Champagne !  ;D 

J. Phelps

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Reply by Richard Foxall, Dec 23, 2010.

Keep champagne corks because getting it out quietly shows a modicum of experience and skill.  Also they require no tools, which a crown cap would. Otherwise, corks are silly.  Philip of all people must know that the cork-sniffing thing is absurd.  The reason to have a cork shown is so you know they didn't replace the wine in an empty bottle, although it's no guarantee.  (Conversely, read Orwell's "Down and Out in Paris and London," where the waiter keeps the cork and returns it to the winery for a kickback; that proves he sold the wine. The other night we ordered three bottles of the same wine during a large dinner and I thought showing or leaving the cork was ridiculous--they would have screwed me the first time and what do I do with all those corks on a crowded table?) Since a screw cap would be obvious if it was replaced, that's one more advantage to the screwcap.  Convenience, better wine preservation, no more worries about laying the bottle on its side, then standing it up again for a few hours, or a day, before serving... Didn't we already settle this issue in another thread?

Now, do they make me feel cheap?  I buy lots of cheap wine.  I am cheap. Or thrifty--I don't buy bad wine, but I know how to get good stuff for a price that won't threaten the kids' college fund.  And most of that has a cork.  But I have seen plenty of high end stuff--lots of the upper end Aus stuff is coming with a screw cap.  It'll happen slowly. 

"Champagne" with a plastic cork--now that's cheap!

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Reply by JonDerry, Dec 23, 2010.

From what I understand it's just more difficult for eastern countries like New Zealand and Australia to acquire cork, so they've gone to screw cap and it's done pretty well to where it's slowly replacing cork from all areas.  For wines that don't require aging, and especially for lower-end wines it definitely seems like the way to go, but I can't say i'm a big fan of the change.

I do prefer cork myself for finer wines that are meant for any kind of aging.  My favorite way to remove corks are with the twin prong pullers "butler's friend".  Most "off" wines i've served were already tipped off by a poor cork.

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Reply by ELBinLA, Dec 23, 2010.

There is certainly a romantic ritual to wine service, and much of that is inarguably lost with the replacement of cork enclosures with screwcaps. 

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Reply by Richard Foxall, Dec 23, 2010.

Go back to the old screw cap v. cork thread and read what NapaGirl said about the romance of cork:

http://www.snooth.com/talk/topic/screw-caps-vs-cork/

Third comment down.  Nuff said. Nothing romantic about TCA.  If drinking spoiled wine (or paying for spoilage indirectly) works for you, be my guest. For some of us, the romance comes when the wine hits your glass and after.  Sometimes for quite a bit after.

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Reply by napagirl68, Dec 23, 2010.

NO.  Foxall said it best, "Nothing romantic about TCA."

I have spent $50plus on wine with a screw cap closure.  I actually prefer it to that fake cork material.

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Reply by JonDerry, Dec 23, 2010.

I understand the enthusiasm for the screw tops and am open to new closures, but to quote decker from the previous thread:

"I also have the suspicion that there'l come a point when discovery will be made that the coatings on the inside of the top that may come in contact with the wine are quesitonable for human health, at best. Ditto for plastic corks (and of course ditto for PET bottles so common these days). Would be interested in the results of longterm study on that...."

Read more: http://www.snooth.com/talk/topic/screw-caps-vs-cork/3/#ixzz18ytRY5Bg

Corks have been largely successful over the years, and have certainly done little to stop the growing appreciation of wine over the years.  It's also important to remember the screw cap revolution started more from cork sourcing issues than "looking for a better way".  That said, i'm all for scientific analysis as opposed to an all out revolution based on a few corked wines - the consequences of storing horizontal and opening corks don't bother me a bit.

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Reply by Richard Foxall, Dec 23, 2010.

JonDerry: Read on in the thread because the science is probably por-Stelvin.   (NG is, in addition to an up beat wine personality, a serious chemist, as we all learned a while ago from the thread on specific gravity of wine.)  The inside of the cap can be coated with inert ceramic that would be absolutely neutral.  No plastic necessary.  I think dmcker actually favors a glass closure, but they are expensive. 

Now, sometimes it's okay to feel cheap.  At least, that's my opinion.  But only after the wine's all gone. ;-)

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Reply by ELBinLA, Dec 23, 2010.

while there is nothing romantic about TCA, there IS something romantic about the ritual of wine service. 

The two statements are not mutually exclusive, you see?

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