Bottom Line/Personal: One of the interesting trends is that good traditional corks—bye-bye. And in fact, I’m seeing a lot of screw tops.
Amy Dixon: Yes.
Bottom Line: Good?
Dixon: Yes, it’s fabulous. Good, it’s great. It is great. It’s one of the best things that has happened to the wine business in the past 15 years. Honestly, 95% of wine is designed to be consumed within its first five years of being bottled. 95%. So that 5% that is built to age long-term and that will appreciate in quality and value over time is a very, very small percentage of wine.
So if you’re drinking your wine over the next five years, a cork is not going to give you any sort of advantage. In fact, in many ways it can be a disadvantage because it can be contaminated with a particular type of chlorinating agent that’s used to wash the corks during processing called TCA. If TCA gets into your wine, it spoils the wine. It won’t hurt you—it’s not a bad chemical like that—but it tastes awful.
So if you want to avoid that entirely, screw top is a fantastic way to know that you’re going to get a great bottle of wine every single time. You don’t have to carry around a corkscrew when you’re going to the beach or on the boat. It makes life super, super easy.
Bottom Line: And are they socially acceptable?
Dixon: Well, you lose a little bit of the romance of opening a bottle of wine and having flourish. But you know, if you put a towel over it, it’s fine.
Bottom Line: Are screw tops available from all regions?
Dixon: Yes, throughout the entire world—actually, even Bordeaux. I was going to say Bordeaux might be the only place that I haven’t seen screw tops, but that’s not true. A lot of their white ones now, I’m seeing coming in screw tops. So it’s kind of exciting.
Bottom Line: So how come—screw tops have been around forever, so why suddenly, or why suddenly recently?
Dixon: I think it had to do with the Cork Growers Association, probably. Lobbying in the corner of the market.
Bottom Line: They had to protect the trees and the cork.
Dixon: Yes, protect the cork growers.