You are what you eat & drink

My Pet Hate – 2011


This year I made a startling discovery.

Screw-Caps for wine bottles.

That’s disgusting, it’s nauseous, irritating and more than bloody annoying. (Get the idea I don’t like it?)

Well, good, because I don’t. It’s cheap and slovenly.

It was bad enough when ‘fizzy wines’ had those obnoxious white plastic stoppers instead of a wired cork, but the advent of screw-top wines is just going too far.

I got caught. I bought a bottle of Brazilian wine, a brand I have known in the past and liked, it wasn’t until I had chilled the wine and went to drink it a week or so later that I discovered it was a screw-top.

I don’t usually make New Years Resolutions, that way I never disappoint myself. But this year I am: a personal crusade against the trends in the wine industry to cheapen and degrade their products.

If your wine has a plastic stopper, a screw-top or a synthetic cork, it won’t fall into my shopping cart.

Now I am not a sommelier, nor even a connoisseur of fine wines, I am a normal person who enjoys good plonk. I don’t buy $3 wines, nor do I buy wines over $30. I live in Brazil but I rarely drink Brazilian wines, preferring by far the neighbouring Argentine and Chilean products, even the occasional Bolivian from the Tarija region is acceptable. But I refuse to accept any wine that does not have a bona fide cork.

It is time that wine-drinkers stood their ground and made the companies realise that you’re not going to accept a shoddy product. I urge you all to refuse to buy a second rate stopper, or better still, write to the company and tell them why you didn’t buy their wine. In this day and age, it is easy enough to communicate with a wine company by email and it takes all of a minute of your time to do the rest of the world a great service.



4 responses

  1. I nurse a whole menagerie of pet hates, chewing gum being the most caressed, but this is not one of them. I really don’t mind the screw tops, possibly because Greek shopkeepers are clueless about keeping wine and I had so many spoiled bottles between 1990 and 2005.

    I found this on the web somewhere:

    Wine Corks:

    Pros: Cork has a long history; it has been used as the sealing method of choice for over 400 years. They’re a renewable resource (the trees are not killed when the bark is stripped to make cork). They’re readily biodegradable. And they support an entire industry of corkscrews and other cork-removal products.

    Cons: Wine Corks often go bad. Estimates vary depending on which figures you believe, as little as 1% or as much as 20% of all wine sold is “corked,” which is to say, damaged by a problematic cork.) Wine corks can be difficult to remove, and sometimes break off into the bottle.

    Plastic: the New Wine Cork

    Pros: Plastic is immune to cork taint, so wine is much less likely to spoil. Depending on the vintner’s tastes, They’re recyclable. And the same cork-removal equipment can be used.

    Cons: If not recycled, plastic corks also pose a more direct threat to the environment. The plastic may not retain its elasticity well over time, making it unsuitable for wines meant to age for decades.

    Screw Caps:

    Pros: Screw caps, like plastic corks, avoid problems of cork taint. They are less expensive than natural or plastic corks. And they can be removed without any special equipment.

    Cons: As with plastic corks, screw caps imply environmental issues associated with the loss of cork farming.


    I am a great fan of Chilean red wines – am getting stuck into a bottle right now.


    December 29, 2011 at 7:02 pm

    • @Vilges, chewing/bubble gum yes are high on my list as well. Thanks for those pro & cons, interesting. I guess it boils down to being a traditionalist in my dotage. All this technology and I still not convinced that the iron horse is such a good idea. I commented on Twitter today: “I stuck my finger in the USB port and ran DEFRAG… now I feel better.” I think we all need a refresher from time to time. A Chilean red could well be on my agenda tonight, to go with my cheese and chilies while watching TV.



      December 29, 2011 at 8:25 pm

  2. We’ve had screw caps for wine in Australia for years now …. I can’t stand them. Particularly since screw top wine used to always be the cheap kind and now even a lot of nice wine has done away with corks so it’s a bit off-putting.

    Taking the (really important) issue re: environment out of the equation … there’s something cool about opening a bottle of wine with a corkscrew – it’s just not the same now!

    I’m pretty old school though ….


    December 30, 2011 at 3:04 am

    • @Emma, I understand the ‘old school’ bit that’s what I was getting at, traditions; and it’s not just that, the whole act of opening wine is ‘class’, screwing off a bit of aluminium is not.



      December 30, 2011 at 7:18 am

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