Before reading any further, ask yourself this question: Would you prefer your wine capped with a cork or a screw top?
I'm guessing you opted for the cork option. There's something about a screw top that seems, well, cheap. But parts of the wine industry are promoting a massive marketing campaign to remove any lingering stigma about bottles that can be opened with the twist of the wrist, because they say screw tops are actually superior to the traditional cork.
Here's their argument: Corks can interact with the wine, causing it to taste bad. Wine experts believe that as many as 1 in 10 wines plugged with corks may be afflicted with this problem. Screw tops, on the other hand, perform well every time. (They're also marginally cheaper, although their real savings come from reducing the number of ruined bottles of wine.)
But there's something about screw tops that can make even a fine Chardonnay seem like a $5 bottle.
That's where the wine industry's marketing campaign comes in. At my own liquor store, a poster by the register explains why customers should embrace screw tops, citing the 1-in-10 statistic about "corked" wine. At a local winery, part of the tour includes a minispeech about the benefits of screw tops.
But the marketing campaign is fighting another powerful force. In addition to tradition, corks may be better for the environment than their screw-top cousins, because they degrade more easily and take less energy to make.
What do you think—are you ready to embrace the wine industry's pro-screw-top marketing campaign, or do you remain a cork devotee?