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Wine

Screw Caps – What’s not to love!

Screw Caps, what’s not to love!

When they were first released as an innovation, they were laughed at, as most great new innovations are; e.g., the air plane.

Change is hard… We’re creatures of habit. That’s a cliché, but how do you say it any better? There’s a psychology of how people adopt new ideas, with statistics and percentages. It’s in an earlier marketing story that I wrote.

Visit Why do I need publicity, Jo?

Scroll down, or search on: The adoption process of a new idea

For me, the bottom line for screw caps is that when I first saw them introduced, I loved the concept. They just made sense to me, because I’m clear that today’s wine cellars seem to be the back seat of someone’s car. Why go through all the trouble of stripping the bark from a cork tree, treating the cork, punching holes in the slab, etc., just to close a bottle of wine that’s going to be consumed the same day as it’s purchased? Think of all the energy it took to get the cork into the bottle, only to have it go into the garbage bin.

Visit How Stuff Works for the full details about cork. Here’s the bottom line info:

· Stripping the bark – A cork oak must be at least 25 years old before its bark can be harvested. Its cork can then be stripped every 8 to 14 years after that for as long as the tree lives. The cork is stripped off during June, July and August using a long-handled hatchet to cut sections out of the bark. These sections are then pried away from the tree. Workers must be careful not to damage the inner layer of the bark; otherwise, the bark won’t grow back.

· Washing the cork – The cork slabs that are cut away from the tree are boiled and the rough outer layer of the bark is stripped away. Boiling the cork also softens it, making it easier to work with.

· Punching Bottle Stoppers – From the slabs of cork, holes are punched out to make bottle stoppers. This leaves the slabs full of holes. These bottle stoppers are then sorted and shipped to various destinations. The stoppers can at this time be printed or branded with names or logos.

With all this attention to detail, it seems appropriate that cork be reserved for the best of the best that’s headed to a wine cellar, and that would be the “old fashioned way” of closing a bottle.

Interestingly, Louis Foppiano of Foppiano Vineyards has shared that it costs more for the Stelvin closures (screw caps) than it does for cork. So why bother? Well, at some point the reverse will happen (economy of scale et al), and screw caps will cost less.

For now, the convenience and consistently non-tainted wines are screw caps’ most advantageous features.

Here’s a link to Happy Camper’s Website, where a full list of screw cap benefits exist, for those not yet convinced:

Happy Camper’s screw cap benefits

Because it is constantly evolving in the bottle, wine is a complex beverage. If opening a bottle becomes simple, we can enjoy the wine so much more when opening the bottle is a simple process.

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