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The cork is dead, long live the cork!
August 30, 2009 10:43 AM   Subscribe

Alternative wine closures are being resisted. Alcoa's new glass stopper with Dupont's vinyl ring costs nearly the same as a cork (50¢ to 70¢ each), but requires new bottling machines. Although cheaper screw caps also prevent undesirable compounds from tainting wine, and eliminates the need for horizontal storage, they change the purist aspect of the bottle and are not biodegradable. Naturalists point out the problem of having cork forests disappear in the Mediterranean region from low demand.
posted by Brian B. (97 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

 
/squirts wine into mouth from wine box.

Tasty!
posted by Artw at 10:45 AM on August 30, 2009 [7 favorites]


Cork is admirably renewable, recyclable, and biodegradable. It is made from the bark of cork oak trees, which is peeled off in huge strips about once every 10 years and then grows back.

I did not know that. That's actually pretty cool.
posted by Artw at 10:47 AM on August 30, 2009


There is something odd about a forest disappearing from low demand.
posted by rokusan at 10:51 AM on August 30, 2009 [4 favorites]


Presumably when the 200 years is up for the current trees low demand would mena they would not be replaced - yeah, not entirely sure I buy the extent of the screwtop threat there.
posted by Artw at 10:53 AM on August 30, 2009


I like cork floors, but man do I prefer screw cap (fine) wine. Screw wine purists.
posted by mathowie at 10:53 AM on August 30, 2009 [2 favorites]


Genetic engineers really need to get on the living cork floor project stat, then everyone can be happy.
posted by Artw at 10:54 AM on August 30, 2009


I can attest first-hand, having driven through Portugal, that Corks are gorgeous.
posted by vacapinta at 10:54 AM on August 30, 2009 [2 favorites]


"Excuse me, waiter? May I sniff that DuPont™ Elvax® eythylene-vinyl acetate ring?"
posted by rokusan at 10:56 AM on August 30, 2009 [5 favorites]


I'm very much of the opinion that screw-top is the future, except perhaps for a few stupidly high-end Sauvignon Blancs, where synthetic corks are getting to the point where they offer all the advantages (for the wine and drinker) of natural cork, but with less chance of failure.
posted by Dysk at 10:57 AM on August 30, 2009


On a slight derail, am I the only person that finds it amusing to be offered a taste of a screw-top bottle in a restaurant before it is served? It's not like it's going to be corked, is it...
posted by Dysk at 10:58 AM on August 30, 2009


Why not just put the wine in plastic bottles and call it a day?
posted by Sys Rq at 10:59 AM on August 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


A report last year by the Worldwide Fund for Nature, cheekily titled "Cork Screwed?", warns that if the trend away from corked wine continues, an area of cork forest half the size of Switzerland will likely stop being cultivated and thus be put at risk of dying out or burning up in forest fires. Losing them would be bad for the climate, too: Cork oaks soak up millions of tons of carbon dioxide, a major greenhouse gas.

What do I not understand about this? Surely, if a forest is not being cultivated, it will simply grow on its own and do what forests do naturally. Or are cork trees so domesticated that they cannot survive without human intervention?
posted by hippybear at 10:59 AM on August 30, 2009


I suspect the land upn which they are currently grown would be used for something else - development or food agriculture or whatever - if the cork trees were no longer commercially viable.
posted by darkstar at 11:03 AM on August 30, 2009 [2 favorites]


...they [screw caps] change the purist aspect of the bottle and are not biodegradable.

Screw caps are metal, and therefore can be recycled.
They change the purist aspect of the bottle like CDs changed the purist aspect of listening to scratches and pops on vinyl.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 11:03 AM on August 30, 2009 [6 favorites]


Sys Rq: "Why not just put the wine in plastic bottles and call it a day?"

The older I get, the more I wonder if Norman Mailer was right about plastic.
posted by Joe Beese at 11:06 AM on August 30, 2009 [3 favorites]


"I'm very much of the opinion that screw-top is the future, except perhaps for a few stupidly high-end Sauvignon Blancs, where synthetic corks are getting to the point where they offer all the advantages (for the wine and drinker) of natural cork, but with less chance of failure."
posted by Brother Dysk at 1:57 PM on August 30

I can't imagine the champagne makers abandoning corks altogether, even if they are all, at some future date, synthetic. There's just too much ritual and fun in the uncorking process for champagne, to risk changing over to a screw top.
posted by paulsc at 11:07 AM on August 30, 2009


I have a huge slab of Sardinian cork sitting right here. I love the stuff, and the forests, but I sure do prefer screw caps, and I'm not sure I buy the argument that the forests will disappear if we stop tending them; if they belong there, they will persevere in a more heterogeneous species composition rather than a monoculture.
Much better would be to find alternate markets for the stuff. Myself, I even once considered moving to Sardinia (I really liked it there!) to start designing and building with cork - an armchair made of solid cork, e.g., would be fantastic, I think
posted by Flashman at 11:10 AM on August 30, 2009


I'm a somewhat knowledgable wine snob. I'm also very sensitive to cork taint. And I hate fiddling around with cork screws. Screw caps are the best thing ever. Easy to open even on the picnic where you forgot the corkscrew, no chance of cork taint. Extra bonus: if you don't finish the bottle, it's easy to re-close it!

New Zealand and Oregon both seem to have gone heavily over to screw-caps. It stops being remarkable pretty quickly when every bottle you see has something other than a cork.

Now I just wish I could buy decent wine in the US in a bag/box.
posted by Nelson at 11:13 AM on August 30, 2009


What do I not understand about this? Surely, if a forest is not being cultivated, it will simply grow on its own and do what forests do naturally. Or are cork trees so domesticated that they cannot survive without human intervention?

What you don't understand is that these "forests" are really more like farms; if demand for cork goes away, the cork trees get cut down, the land developed, etc.
posted by Sys Rq at 11:22 AM on August 30, 2009


On a slight derail, am I the only person that finds it amusing to be offered a taste of a screw-top bottle in a restaurant before it is served? It's not like it's going to be corked, is it...

It might suck, and therefore, you'd be permitted not to pay for it.
posted by device55 at 11:31 AM on August 30, 2009


What do I not understand about this? Surely, if a forest is not being cultivated, it will simply grow on its own and do what forests do naturally. Or are cork trees so domesticated that they cannot survive without human intervention?

The basic idea is that ownership encourages a base level of conservation, so long as the owner can find some buyer. I recall hearing about giving hunting rights to locals in Africa, so that poachers now have to compete with the economic interests of the locals, who want the highest bidder to pay for the rights to hunt, and presumably have long term interests in the supply of leopards.

In this case, I think they're talking about forests in the same way we talk about corn fields. If you eliminate subsidies, corn fields will go away!
posted by pwnguin at 11:34 AM on August 30, 2009


I wonder how much energy is used to produce and ship cork tops versus screw tops. The main reason that New Zealand and Australia use screw tops is the lack of locally available cork and the expense of getting it from somewhere else.
posted by lunalaguna at 11:34 AM on August 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


I wonder how much energy is used to produce and ship cork tops versus screw tops. The main reason that New Zealand and Australia use screw tops is the lack of locally available cork and the expense of getting it from somewhere else.

Exactly. Until we have a good idea how much energy both processes use, the "cork is eco-friendly!" argument doesn't really hold up. It could be the case that cultivating and shipping cork is a more energy intensive process than manufacturing screw tops. (Not to mention the energy used to produce and move wine spoiled by imperfect cork seals, which simply gets thrown away...)
posted by aparrish at 11:47 AM on August 30, 2009


In Argentina, some wineries, like VIÑA ONA are trying to move to "Bag in Box". Lasts longer, stays fresher and is a blessing for bar owners selling by the glass. Not sure of the environmental impact of cardboard boxes and what appears to be mylar bags vs. cork or metal or what have you.
posted by conifer at 11:51 AM on August 30, 2009


paulsc: I can't imagine the champagne makers abandoning corks altogether, even if they are all, at some future date, synthetic. There's just too much ritual and fun in the uncorking process for champagne, to risk changing over to a screw top.

That's probably true. The spectacle of opening a bottle of sparkling wine is probably more central to its enjoyment than the taste, given the abundance and popularity of cheap and horrible champagne (and other sparkling wine).

device55, I have no idea what the convention is everywhere in the world, but here in Europe, the tasting of a wine before it is served is specifically to check for corkage. It's your own fault if you order a wine and don't like it.
posted by Dysk at 11:56 AM on August 30, 2009


The last link suggests that maybe there's an advantage for aging red wines to using corks.

And we lose the cork forests and the cork soakers.
posted by eye of newt at 11:58 AM on August 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


Admittedly Champagne (as opposed to just 'sparkling') is a bastion of tradition, where you if you don't know what you are drinking you are probably paying as much for show as for what is in the bottle, so I can't see it changing for a long time. But there are screw-tops for champagne (though I would like to note that the article I link to is talking bollocks when it claims opening Champagne was largely out of the domain of women. Everyone knows if you are to do it properly, it is about rotating the bottle, not the cork, and women can do that just as easily as men). But due to the way it is made, Champagne will never have 'normal' screw top lids.
posted by Megami at 12:12 PM on August 30, 2009


Cork is admirably renewable, recyclable, and biodegradable. It is made from the bark of cork oak trees, which is peeled off in huge strips about once every 10 years and then grows back.

Nonsense. You pluck the corks full-formed from the branches.
posted by brundlefly at 12:28 PM on August 30, 2009 [2 favorites]


So those Australian hats are camouflage, then? Brilliant!
posted by rokusan at 12:39 PM on August 30, 2009


From the WWF report: "The cork oak forests could face an economic and environmental crisis unless we take action to secure their future now," said Rebecca May, a forests campaigner with WWF-UK. "It is vital that the wine and cork industries maintain the market for cork stoppers and, in turn, help ensure the survival of the cork oak forests.”
What a crock of shit. What's next, insisting that people drink more wine rather than water to prop up cork prices? Like any agricultural group, the cork growers should be researching what new markets they can use cork in. It's not like there's a shortage of furniture makers and designers switching from synthetics to natural materials. This sounds to me like hype manufactured by Cork Supply Group of Portugal (which seems to have organized some trips for the WWF) which is naturally interested in keeping their income stream at its current level and is scared of any change. Sad to see the WWF has fallen for this malarkey. Note that the wikipedia page on cork reads like it was written by a lobbyist group.
posted by benzenedream at 12:43 PM on August 30, 2009 [3 favorites]


So those Australian hats are camouflage, then? Brilliant!

I saw those cork hats the other night on a documentary. The dangling corks were supposed to shoo the blow fly away from eating the faces of ranch hands, but they don't work very well. A dung beetle was recently brought in from Egypt to eat the dung the flies nest on, and they deem it huge success.
posted by Brian B. at 12:47 PM on August 30, 2009


device55, I have no idea what the convention is everywhere in the world, but here in Europe, the tasting of a wine before it is served is specifically to check for corkage. It's your own fault if you order a wine and don't like it.

There are certainly other ways to ruin a bottle of wine before it's been opened.
posted by mkb at 12:51 PM on August 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


What's next, insisting that people drink more wine rather than water to prop up cork prices?

I for one am willing to throw myself on that grenade.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 12:57 PM on August 30, 2009 [9 favorites]


Two things: First off, screw caps, if you noted the brief mention in the article, restrict oxygen and can lead to gas build-up. That's worse for red wines that age in the bottle.

Second off, I remember my father, who as a gasket salesman used to have to deal with cork, talking about how Portugal's cork production is basically controlled by a handful of organized crime families.
posted by klangklangston at 1:35 PM on August 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


There is something odd about a forest disappearing from low demand.
-rokusan

There is the same issue with paper recycling. if you use paper from trees you encourage people to plant forests. If you use recycled paper you encourage people to build recycling factories.
posted by bhnyc at 1:46 PM on August 30, 2009


From the WWF report:

What the hell do wrestlers know about wine, anyways?
posted by jonmc at 1:50 PM on August 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


I was doing PR for a few winemakers when screwtop (Stelvin) wine closures were being adopted by the NZ wine industry. I can't remember the exact details, but pretty much everyone who knew anything at all about wine agreed that screw tops were superior to cork in all regards..
posted by sycophant at 1:57 PM on August 30, 2009


What the hell do wrestlers know about wine, anyways?

Andre the Giant drank it by the case.
posted by Faint of Butt at 2:00 PM on August 30, 2009


If a cork alone is $0.50-0.70, How in the hell does anyone make a profit on Two Buck Chuck?
posted by vaportrail at 2:03 PM on August 30, 2009


Andre the Giant drank it by the case.

I thought that was vodka.
posted by jonmc at 2:09 PM on August 30, 2009


One argument I always find extremely dubious in any context is the idea of trees as a way to battle global warming. The article in the post uses it as one downside to losing the cork farms. But I don't believe trees are actually any sort of solution to CO2 in the atmosphere. It's true that they sequester a bunch of CO2, but that C02 isn't destroyed and converted to something else. It's just stored. When the tree dies it gets released right back into the atmosphere.

So how is that any sort of plus? All it does is shift the C02 problem a few years into the future. It's like deficit spending; you still have to pay, you just have to pay later and probably more.
posted by Justinian at 2:10 PM on August 30, 2009


"When the tree dies it gets released right back into the atmosphere."

But by that time the tree is likely to have reproduced, you see. This creates several more carbon sequestration devices -- for free!
posted by majick at 2:27 PM on August 30, 2009 [3 favorites]


If a cork alone is $0.50-0.70, How in the hell does anyone make a profit on Two Buck Chuck?

"Twin tops" (cork granules and glue, perhaps deriving their name from the pristine layer of cork at each end) are used on Charles Shaw wines.
posted by Brian B. at 2:35 PM on August 30, 2009


Three months ago I got my first smell and taste of corked wine, during a trip through a winery in Sonoma. The hostess perceived something was wrong with a fresh bottle and I asked what it was. She said "it's corked" and she very kindly let me try that. It is the first I had known in twenty years' wine drinking. It was unmistakeable.

To the more sophisticated here: are there -degrees- of that flavor or does it come on rapidly if at all?
posted by jet_silver at 2:38 PM on August 30, 2009


But by that time the tree is likely to have reproduced, you see. This creates several more carbon sequestration devices -- for free!

Only if the space for trees is essentially infinite. Otherwise you're still just pushing the problem down the line.
posted by Justinian at 2:51 PM on August 30, 2009


jet-silver: there are definitely degrees, and other factors can mask it at first whiff (eg. chilling a wine can do wonders) - which is why sniffing the cork itself, rather than the wine, can be useful - it's usually the strongest indicator.
Btw: I've found that one simple descriptor can really help define/describe the corked smell: walnut (fresh walnut, the skins in particular); the association helps you remember it for future reference.
Oh, and: want to be the sophisticate when it comes to okaying a wine you've ordered (provided it's a cork-topped one)? Instead of sniffing and then sipping the wine, just sniff it. Don't smell walnut? Nod OK to the somellier - there's almost never an actual need to sip to check for cork. (Somelier and other discerning guests will be silently wowed.)
posted by progosk at 2:51 PM on August 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


If a cork alone is $0.50-0.70, How in the hell does anyone make a profit on Two Buck Chuck?

Mostly they don't. Charles Shaw wine is cheap bulk Central Valley wine bought dirt cheap in bulk by the bottler because of the wine glut. If it wasn't sold as Charles Shaw it would essentially be poured down the drain which would be a complete loss. So selling it to the Charles Shaw label even for pennies is better than getting nothing for it.

It's not like there is a "Charles Shaw" vineyard where they actually grow grapes and make wine. It's essentially made of whatever wine is left over from actual vineyards.
posted by Justinian at 2:56 PM on August 30, 2009


did I mention "cheap" and "bulk"? Because I'm not sure if I mentioned it often enough.
posted by Justinian at 2:57 PM on August 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


On a slight derail, I opened a champagne-style bottle of sparkling apple drink for the little ones for a New Years Day brunch. I made much fanfare of showing the bottle's label to a 2 year old, uncorking it, and presenting the cork to him. He didn't know what to do, so he licked it.

I so want to do that at a restaurant.
posted by mazola at 2:58 PM on August 30, 2009 [4 favorites]


are there -degrees- of that [cork taint] flavor or does it come on rapidly if at all?

Oh there's definitely degrees. Some people also seem to be much more sensitive than others. My partner can gladly drink wines that are quite tainted; I'm unfortunately much more likely to be bothered by any hint of taint. It's not just an off flavour, the real problem is that it tends to rob the wine of any other flavor. Particularly a shame with a nice older bottle that's been bleached to a bland grey because it's tainted.

I've read that as much as 10% of wine is cork tainted. My own experience is that it's not nearly that bad, more like 1 bottle in 50. But I mostly drink young American wines, it may be that those are less likely to be tainted or so young that you don't notice it.
posted by Nelson at 3:19 PM on August 30, 2009


On a slight derail, am I the only person that finds it amusing to be offered a taste of a screw-top bottle in a restaurant before it is served? It's not like it's going to be corked, is it...

No, but it could be cooked. I've had some pretty abused wine in screwtop bottles.

I have to admit that personally, I love cork-corks. I don't *hate* synthetic corks or screwtops, but I very much prefer the texture of real corks. I'm going to be really sad when corks quietly slide into the past.
posted by desuetude at 3:28 PM on August 30, 2009


Why not just put the wine in plastic bottles and call it a day?
BPA

[shields head and runs other direction]
posted by incessant at 3:29 PM on August 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


It's true that they sequester a bunch of CO2, but that C02 isn't destroyed and converted to something else. It's just stored. When the tree dies it gets released right back into the atmosphere.

It actually depends on what you do with the tree.

If you grow a tree in order to turn it into wood chips, which are turned into toilet paper, which decomposes quite rapidly, then the trees are, at best, a temporary CO2 buffer.

If you grow a tree and use the wood to, say, build the frame of a house or a kitchen table, then the carbon is locked up in the wood potentially for centuries.

I find it interesting that the debate around "carbon trading" in Australia has turned to the use of carbon in steel manufacture. Steel manufacturers are all concerned that they will be "taxed" for the carbon they use. And, sure, they'll be taxed for the carbon they burn, but adding coke to iron to make steel is actually an extremely effective way of "locking up" carbon and preventing its entry to the atmosphere.
posted by Jimbob at 3:45 PM on August 30, 2009 [2 favorites]


you do realize that 90% of 'wine appreication' is yuppies creating an elaborate justification for getting loaded? right? After three glasses you could drink Thunderbird and you wouldn't know the difference.
posted by jonmc at 4:02 PM on August 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


jonmc, you'd know the difference, but you'd either not care, or quite possible enjoy the Thunderbird more.
posted by Dysk at 4:05 PM on August 30, 2009


BrotherDysk: I actually wish I enjoyed wine, since I definitely enjoy getting drunk, but even the smell of it revolts me. My point is whether you're drinking Chateau LaFitte of Olde Engligh 800, you're still just getting drunk.
posted by jonmc at 4:08 PM on August 30, 2009


Newsweek: Boxed Vino Goes Primo.

NYT's: Drink Outside the Box.

Wine.com: Screw Cap Wine Sales Rise.

ABC News: Some Wineries Choose Screw Caps Over Cork.
posted by ericb at 4:08 PM on August 30, 2009


you do realize that 90% of 'wine appreication' is yuppies creating an elaborate justification for getting loaded?

The fact that wine labels now contain detailed instructions regarding what you're supposed to smell and taste in the wine confirms this.
posted by Jimbob at 4:10 PM on August 30, 2009 [4 favorites]


Bonny Doon Vineyard on Srewcaps.
posted by ericb at 4:17 PM on August 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


*Screwcaps* Sorry for the typo, I'm suffering from "wine flu."
posted by ericb at 4:18 PM on August 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


Hogue Cellars: "We've done our homework. We tested every seal and found: Screwcaps keep wine flavors freshest and eliminate cork taint."

"The winemakers at Hogue Cellars present the results of a 30 month test of wine closures: press release [PDF] || FAQ.
posted by ericb at 4:28 PM on August 30, 2009


This yuppie likes to stop at two glasses, generally. More than that and I might not show up to my overpaid desk job on time.
posted by cardboard at 4:34 PM on August 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


you do realize that 90% of 'wine appreication' is yuppies creating an elaborate justification for getting loaded?

So? That doesn't mean that wine can't be appreciated. Or that closing the bottle properly isn't important.
posted by Nelson at 4:34 PM on August 30, 2009


Or that closing the bottle properly isn't important.

If you're worried about closing the bottle, you're not drinking enough.
posted by jonmc at 4:38 PM on August 30, 2009 [2 favorites]


Time Magazine: New Wine in Uh, Juice Boxes
"... winemakers are now putting their goods in juice boxes, aluminum cans like Sofia Coppola's super-hip champagne, which comes with a straw, and -- in the latest packaging innovation -- plastic bottles....Wine sold in the same type of plastic bottles that Aquafina uses to hold tap water is about to hit U.S. ...But success elsewhere in the world has not made wine companies confident about bringing alternative packaging to the U.S. ... Still, countries that are far stodgier about wine than the U.S. are starting to change. The English have bought wine in plastic packs for years. Even some vintners in France, whose wine industry has been in trouble because of worldwide competition and overproduction, are experimenting with alternatives to glass. Jean-Charles Boisset, whose family business is a market leader, likens wine drinkers and their adaptability to the consumers of another once upscale product. 'You squeeze mustard from a plastic bottle, when you traditionally got it from a glass bottle,' he says matter-of-factly."
posted by ericb at 4:40 PM on August 30, 2009


If a cork alone is $0.50-0.70, How in the hell does anyone make a profit on Two Buck Chuck?
"...the businessman behind the wildly successful $2 Charles Shaw wines is wary [of alternative packaging and stoppers/closures]. Despite the fact that the bottle is the most expensive component of the super-cheapo wine sold exclusively at crunchy consumer haven Trader Joe's, Two Buck Chuck maker Fred Franzia says he'd never abandon the romance of glass and cork." *
posted by ericb at 4:53 PM on August 30, 2009


cardboard: This yuppie likes to stop at two glasses, generally. More than that and I might not show up to my overpaid desk job on time.

Try drinking after work instead.
posted by Greg_Ace at 5:07 PM on August 30, 2009 [3 favorites]


Why not just put the wine in plastic bottles and call it a day?
That's crazy talk, Sys Rq. Unimaginable. Though ericb pretty much beat me to it.
posted by GeckoDundee at 5:33 PM on August 30, 2009


My point is whether you're drinking Chateau LaFitte of Olde Engligh 800, you're still just getting drunk.

An associate of mine found several bottles of Olde English 800. They were sealed in a cellar in Camden, New Jersey and we believe that they once belonged to Thomas Jefferson.
posted by Mayor Curley at 5:43 PM on August 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


Why not just put the wine in plastic bottles and call it a day?

Plastic breathes, so the wine is dated short term. However, it is possible to have an all-purpose bottle, reused by the owner, about a liter, made of glass, which could hold almost anything sold in bulk in a store, including wine.
posted by Brian B. at 5:49 PM on August 30, 2009


jonmc is back?
posted by R_Nebblesworth at 6:04 PM on August 30, 2009


First off, screw caps, if you noted the brief mention in the article, restrict oxygen and can lead to gas build-up. That's worse for red wines that age in the bottle.

I've heard of old wine being re-corked after a time, and I wonder if unscrewing the cap during maintenance will more simply allow for reducing the reduction during aging.

If you’ve ever heard people talking about funky smells “blowing off”, the reduction of reduction is almost surely to what they were referring. If leaving a bottle open for 15 or 20 minutes doesn’t do the trick, take the next step - decant! The more air one can introduce into the wine, the better chance one has of de-smellifying the wine in question.
posted by Brian B. at 6:23 PM on August 30, 2009


heh... this whole thread made me smile... me and the better half have made an evening of a couple of screw cap bottles of Fish Eye Pinot... at less than $5 per it is a great buy.... cork, meh, who cares...

somewhere I've got a bottle of 1976 Chateau Lafite, and I'm betting that damn cork has gone bad and the wine is undrinkable....
posted by HuronBob at 7:35 PM on August 30, 2009


somewhere I've got a bottle of 1976 Chateau Lafite, and I'm betting that damn cork has gone bad and the wine is undrinkable....

Might as well drink it now unless you're a collector. It's sure not going to get any better after almost 35 years and the longer it sits the more likely it is to be undrinkable when you open it. And that's assuming it's been stored perfectly.
posted by Justinian at 7:44 PM on August 30, 2009


This yuppie likes to stop at two glasses, generally. More than that and I might not show up to my overpaid desk job on time.

Myself, I like a couple of frosty Zimas for breakfast. Poor people can suck it.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 7:47 PM on August 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


The wreaths I make out of wine corks take about 300 corks each. If you all keep drinking the screw capped bottles, how do you expect me to ever finish a wreath for you? Even with all my friends saving their corks for me, I'm still only averaging one wreath a year. Seriously, people! Do you think I'm drinking all this wine because I like it? I do it for you.

Save your corks for me!
posted by onhazier at 8:14 PM on August 30, 2009


Cork is admirably renewable, recyclable, and biodegradable. It is made from the bark of cork oak trees, which is peeled off in huge strips about once every 10 years and then grows back.

Nonsense. You pluck the corks full-formed from the branches.


Having read Ferdinand the Bull, I remember being very confused by the lack of dangling corks when my parents' friend pointed out the cork tree in her front yard.

I love cork oaks. They do quite well here in the Bay Area; there's a young one a block away and a small grove of them down at Lake Merritt.
posted by oneirodynia at 10:45 PM on August 30, 2009


you do realize that 90% of 'wine appreication' is yuppies creating an elaborate justification for getting loaded? right? After three glasses you could drink Thunderbird and you wouldn't know the difference.
posted by jonmc at 4:02 PM on August 30 [1 favorite +] [!]


Bugger off, Bukowski.
posted by atrazine at 11:09 PM on August 30, 2009


Jean-Charles Boisset, whose family business is a market leader, likens wine drinkers and their adaptability to the consumers of another once upscale product. 'You squeeze mustard from a plastic bottle, when you traditionally got it from a glass bottle,' he says matter-of-factly."

The only mustard that is commonly found in a squeezie-bottle is that wretched florescent yellow shite that one feeds to children who don't know any better.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:25 PM on August 30, 2009


jonmc wrote: After three glasses you could drink Thunderbird and you wouldn't know the difference.

Either you have no tolerance to speak of, or you've never actually tasted Thunderbird. Neither explanation seems consistent with your reputation as Metafilter's own downmarket drunk. What gives?
posted by ryanrs at 12:49 AM on August 31, 2009


Low demand means that the farmers are tearing them out and putting in different types of plants. Thus eliminating unique habitat for a small assortment of endangered species.

The irony is that the taint problem has mostly been removed. For a brief period during the 1980s it got up to nearly 15% of bottles being contaminated by taint. The industry realized this was bad and developed tests for it and standards to prevent contamination. As a result, less than 1% of cork in wine bottles results in any taint. That is about the same failure rate as all of the alternatives given. However, the one thing typically not noted in these articles is that the cork allows a wine to breathe, thus aging it differently. However, in drink-young wines, breathing while aging is not that big of a deal. It really does take a white that needs shelved at least two years and a red that needs at least five years to see a difference in the cork type.

Real cork rocks!
posted by Maztec at 12:52 AM on August 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


Oh, and, what amazes me is how few self-claimed wine collectors realize that you really should replace the cork on a bottle every 10 to 20 years. It does not take much effort, but it makes a world of difference in a wine you are aging.
posted by Maztec at 12:55 AM on August 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


A dung beetle was recently brought in from Egypt to eat the dung the flies nest on, and they deem it huge success.

Will you never learn, Australia?
posted by electroboy at 7:15 AM on August 31, 2009


I love cork, and fully support any drive to use it in more odd areas. My bike's handlebars are made of cork, and it's fantastic. They've got a solid grip to them, and in mid-january (in Canada) they're not cold after being outside all day. Simply wonderful.

Unfortunately, my gloves have rubbed off a bit on them, staining them black. But still.
posted by Lemurrhea at 8:10 AM on August 31, 2009


A dung beetle was recently brought in from Egypt to eat the dung the flies nest on, and they deem it huge success.

Will you never learn, Australia?


Boy, you ain't kidding.
posted by Sys Rq at 8:22 AM on August 31, 2009


(also)
posted by Sys Rq at 8:23 AM on August 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


Correction, dung beetles were brought in from everywhere to Australia and 20 are successful. Apparently we can't live well without them if we want to raise cattle.

Quote: In Australia dung beetles are considered to be real heroes. Before 1788 there were no cattle in Australia, and therefore the dung beetles there had not evolved the ability to deal with all this wet smelly cow dung, they were used to nice clean dryish kangaroo and other marsupial dung, most of them would have nothing to do with this modern import. There are about 20 million cattle in Australia, and each one drops about 12 pads a day, this is a huge amount of dung with no beetles to get rid of it. What was happening was 2 things, first the dung fouled millions of hectares of grazing land, causing the growth of rank grasses which the cattle did not like to eat. Secondly the flies moved in, two species of them The Buffalo Fly a pest of the cattle and the Bush Fly a pest of everyone. When you think that every one of those cowpads I mentioned earlier can produce 2 000 flies you will be able to work out that about 480 thousand million new flies were emerging everyday in Australia. That is just freaky no wonder they invented special hats just to keep them away.. So what else did the Australians do? What they did was really very clever, they imported 45 species of dung beetle from various parts of the world, mostly Europe and Africa. Of these 20 are doing very well, and the problem, much to everyone's enjoyment is just about solved.
posted by Brian B. at 5:12 PM on August 31, 2009


To continue the dung beetle derail:

A Kleptocoprophage is a dung beetle that eats and lays its eggs on dung some other beetle has collected, this is a form of Kleptoparasitism as the thief often eats the legitimate dung-owners eggs as well as stealing their dung, Aphodius porcus is a Kleptocoprophage/parasite of the common Dor Beetle, these are definitely not nice guys.
posted by benzenedream at 11:47 PM on August 31, 2009


It took me many hours to learn how to properly uncork a bottle of wine and look like I knew what the hell I was doing. I will not give that up easily.

you do realize that 90% of 'wine appreication' is yuppies creating an elaborate justification for getting loaded? right? After three glasses you could drink Thunderbird and you wouldn't know the difference.
posted by jonmc


We know jonmc, you hate wine, hate yuppies, all alcohol's the same, blah blah blah and on and on and on and you've said it a thousand times before. Now kindly go pass out somewhere.
posted by Dennis Murphy at 10:44 AM on September 1, 2009


Well, there seems to be a bit of an assumption that elaborate justifications for getting loaded are a bad thing...
posted by Artw at 10:47 AM on September 1, 2009


Maybe Australia should plant some cork trees. Or, you know, any other kind of tree that doesn't spontaneously combust whenever the sun is shining.
posted by Sys Rq at 10:48 AM on September 1, 2009


you do realize that 90% of 'wine appreication' is yuppies creating an elaborate justification for getting loaded? right? After three glasses you could drink Thunderbird and you wouldn't know the difference.
posted by jonmc


After fifteen Ramones records, you could throw on some Carpenters and no one would notice.
posted by Sys Rq at 10:50 AM on September 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


What I want to know is why the fuck anyone would drink Yagermeister.
posted by Artw at 10:56 AM on September 1, 2009


What I want to know is why the fuck anyone would drink Yagermeister.

Hey, you gotta take whatever gman gives you. And it's Jägermeister.
posted by Sys Rq at 11:01 AM on September 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


What?! Jägermeister is delicious!
posted by mkb at 12:46 PM on September 1, 2009


Will you never learn, Australia?

Oh, we learned.
posted by Pinback at 3:33 PM on September 1, 2009


Jägermeister is delicious...until it is poison.

The problem is, it's not always easy to discern where the inflection point is in that particular curve.
posted by darkstar at 5:11 PM on September 1, 2009


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