Monday, May 15, 2006

Another reason to use cork

While dining with mom last night, the waitress presented us a bottle of Napa Sauvignon Blanc. My mother couldn't help bragging to her that I had a winery. As the waitress struggled to uncork the wine she asked me, "Do you use plastic corks in your bottles?"

"No," I said, "I prefer real cork."

With that, she pulled the synthetic cork out of the bottle and presented it to me. I said to the server if it were a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc the closure would probably be a screwcap. The waitress smiled and said, "I like those!"

People tend to get emotional about the cork debate. Some aficionados can make a case for screwcaps, but they still remind too many of winos in the alley swilling Thunderbird (hardly a picture of romance).

I often get asked if the trend toward synthetic closures is because of a depletion or shortage of oak cork trees. No, I say, alternative closures can reduce the chance of wine spoilage and they are less expensive than cork. Both are very attractive attributes for wine makers.

But here is something to consider: The oak industry actually sustains tens of thousands of jobs and provides an ecosystem that the WWF is trying to protect. If corks disappear than so will an important wildlife habitat. Here's is an interesting article on the subject:

So, I'm sticking with cork. Yes, it costs a little more, but I love the tradition, the look, the feel and the satisfying sound when pulled from a favorite bottle. It's also nice to know we are contributing to the survival of Mediterranean forests. But, should you get a bottle of Moonstone Cellars' wine where it's clear the cork has failed, just let me know and I'll replace it. The minor losses due to a small percentage of bad corks are still worth it to me.


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