Friday, September 28, 2007

We like our wine corked...

One of BirdCouple's favorite wines. Seghesio Zinfandel.

Oh, Friday here you are!

And, it would not be a Friday at the Love Nest without something wonderful to open weekend's gate of folly....

We are wine snobs. It was the 8 week wine introduction course at our local community college that ruined us. Cute Husband has actually heard me say after a sniff and taste - "Hmmm... this is somewhat house wine-ish".

What we didn't learn in wine school is the importance of buying wine that is stopped with a cork rather than sealed with a screw cap.

Screw top.... are you thinking cheap wine?

Not anymore. Many fine winemakers have switched to screw tops to prevent cork taint. Cork taint results from an interaction of mold and other organic compounds and produces a musty flavor which makes wine undrinkable. Worse than house wine-ish.

Screw caps don't cause cork taint, plus screw tops are cheaper.

The problem? Screw caps are usually made from a nonrenewable material. Screw caps are hard to recycle. And, as more winemakers move to capping rather than corking, economic pressures are causing farmers to sell cork land for development.

Cork is a renewable material. It is made from fiber stripped from cork trees that regrows, without detriment to the tree.

Most of the cork is grown Mediterranean forests and covers about 6.7 million acres.
Cork oak forests support one of the highest levels of biodiversity among European forests and provide habitat for several endangered species including the Iberian Imperial Eagle and the Iberian Lynx.

Cork oak forests not only support the people involved in the cork industry, but also the local economy. Sheep and goats graze under cork trees and provide milk to local farmers. Honey is harvested and sold, and cork acorns are used for animal feed.

So, a toast to Friday!
Cheers to the cork stopped bottle I am sure Cute Husband is picking up as I write!

Wine and wenches empty men's purses ~English Proverb


Warren and Lisa Strobel said...

Yes, yes - I was picking up a cork-stopped bottle ... or 2

Old Salt said...

Good choice of wine.

But I maintain that screw caps are a lot more convenient than corks.

Anonymous said...

Great to hear the debate get serious in the US. I'm a winemaker in OZ and can tell of numerous occasions when trying to show a new product tainted by cork - not just TCA, but random oxidation, Brett, scalping of flavour and the opposite. How frustrating! I'd happily use cork if I knew it was representing my craft well. The fact that the cork production facilities (which are extremely un-environmentally friendly bye the way) refuse to take the plight of the winemaker seriously will continue to work into the screw cap makers hands. If they get real they may just get through. In the mean time, look for wine-growers that think environmentally and bottle under screw caps... And keep drinking!

Warren and Lisa Strobel said...

Great advice... keep worries there!

Willamette Valley Vineyards, based in Oregon, is the first winery in the world to use cork stoppers harvested from responsibly managed forestlands certified by the Rainforest Alliance to Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) standards. This certification is awarded by the Rainforest Alliance.

The corks will be imprinted with the FSC and Rain Forest Alliance logo, and bottle labels will also bear both certification seals.

Hopefully, for winemakers such as yourself, these corks will also be the quality that your wine deserves.

Thank you for commenting and please let us know
us know the name of your wine.