Wine Talk

Snooth User: Philip James

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

Original post 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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Reply by Stephen Harvey, Dec 23, 2010.


You are absolutely wrong wroing wrong wrong wrong wrong

Cork sourcing had nothing to do with the shift to Stelvin.

In Australia it started in 2000 in Clare Valley when a group of committed Riesling makers decided en masse that they had had enough of cork and TCA.  They all decided to go Stelvin for the 2000 vintage.  By 2002 virtually 100% of Australian Riesling was in Screw cap.

The vast majority of winemakers believe that cork is an inferior closure and now that we consumers are moving in the same direction the trend will continue.

The only major Australian export market that has resisted the change to cork for all wine, red/white/cheap/expensive is the USA.

And the general impression I get from those who contribute regularly on Snooth forums the US attitude is changing to.

As to romance, open a top wine you have cared for for 20 years and have made sure everything is right and then have it TCA affected - romance my ......

By the way I have tried some 6-8 year old reds that have been under Stelvin and they are ageing nicely maybe a bit slower, but so far no concerning charateristics and 100% no TCA!!!

May cork Rest In Peace!


Reply by JonDerry, Dec 23, 2010.

Stephen, well I have been wrong wroing wrong before, so it wouldn't be the first time.  However, it's no secret that Australia and New Zealand have had a harder time sourcing cork and faced higher costs.  So far the alternative screw cap has seemed to work pretty well on the surface, but i'll just let the changes occur as they will - gradually over time as they will in a more level headed, demand/supply sort of way. 

Reply by wineguider, Dec 23, 2010.

Screw caps keep the wine fresher and better.  Quality and continuity improves markedly with screw caps.  It's an unfortunate fact.  Corks lose.

That said, corks allow more maturation in the bottle during storage.  Because of this, I have known wines that come in both screw cap and cork, and cork tastes better every time.  I guess because those wines needed more "time in the bottle", which cork allowed.  But of course, cork allows more failure, spoilage, and variation in quality from bottle to bottle.  

Mixed bag.

-Wineguider (

Reply by GregT, Dec 24, 2010.
"while there is nothing romantic about TCA, there IS something romantic about the ritual of wine service" Is there?  To me, it's about as romantic as serving soup, which frankly, is more difficult. You carry a hot bowl through a crowded room, hoping not to spill any of it while drunken patrons are standing up to leave, waving their arms to illustrate their stories, and leaving bags and coats trailing on the floor to present obstacles to your path. It should be an Olympic "sport". I find nothing at all romantic about pulling out a cork, much less watching someone else do it.  I open thousands of bottles a year and it's just something that has to be done to get to the product inside, much like opening a letter. I think I'm with Stephen on the cork issue w Australia/NZ though.  Their money is good and I don't see why it's any more difficult for them to source cork than for anyone else.  South American countries did in fact have difficulty, and perhaps still do, but that's got as much to do with corruption, devalued currencies, and non-wine issues as anything else.  The Australians have always been pretty much cutting edge with wine - after all, it was settled by people who didn't really have deep emotional ties to their traditional places in life with the corresponding traditions and relationships. Nor is it true that corks allow more maturation in the bottle.  Anything done by cork, if understood, can be replicated.  The fact is that every single cork is different and consequently you cannot predict what is going to happen. You can only deal with probabilities.  Imagine if computer chips were made the same way!  Rather than 99.9999 percent certainty, you'd have 89.0%.  Of course, that would pretty much eliminate the aviation industry, not to mention the far more important pc gaming industry!
Reply by GregT, Dec 24, 2010.

Thank you Snooth!!

Love your formatting when someone quotes another post.  It adds immeasurably to the user experience.

Clearly I didn't run an entire post into one paragraph.  See - the software at Snooth is very much like cork.  Is it "romantic" to have your posts jacked? 

Nope.  But we put up with it because that's a "feature", not a bug, in the same way we are forced to accept oxidation, TCA, and leakage as "features" of cork.

Reply by Richard Foxall, Dec 24, 2010.

Never seen SH use the word wrong, but I think we need to tell JonDerry that SH has the most inside info on the wine biz in Australia, because he is the accountant/consultant/consigliere to the business.  So, if sourcing was the issue, he would know. 

And how romantic is it when you get an overly tight cork--oh, wait, tight is the feature and a desirable property to prevent oxidation--and you have to put the bottle between your legs to get some leverage because you already committed to using the caber instead of the rabbit-thing? 

Sooner that corks go away, the better.  A whole generation can grow up watching Seth Rogen gross out movies and we are worrying about feeling cheap because we didn't struggle with a cork?  Puh-leez. 

(That's as snarky as I ever hope to be on Snooth.)

GregT, we did actually have air travel before computers were ubiquitous, but it was crazy expensive.  Without the computers, you can't fly bigger planes or shuffle as many of them around.  Which is not all bad, since planes now feel like Greyhound buses.  But I am being a snob.

And I can't cut and paste from other posts without some unpredictable glitch, either.

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