Question from Marla: If the bottle has a plastic cork or a screw cap do I still need to store it sideways?
Reply: Hi, Marla. Thanks for writing! If you’re not sure what kind of seal it is, it’s smart to store the bottle sideways. But, if you know it’s a screw cap or a plastic cork you can store it any old way you want.
Cork-finished bottles need to be stored sideways or upside down to keep the cork swollen with wine so the seal is tight. For any other seal, don’t worry about it. As long as the bottle’s in a cool, dark place it can stand up or whatever.
How do y’all feel about these newer closures? Are you OK with screw caps? I find my attitude has evolved to the point that when I buy a bottle from New Zealand, and it’s the rare one that actually has a cork, I’m annoyed at the extra work it takes to pull the darned thing out! I just want to crack that bottle open! Who’d a thunk me or anyone would feel this way 10 years ago?!
Let me know if you want to see a post on the advantages and disadvantages of the various closures.
I wrote a more detailed article on wine storage awhile back if you’d like more information. Happy cork popping, screw-cap cracking, whatever it takes to get the bottle open – go for it! Cheers!
Question from Josh: I overheard a server in a wine bar say that screw caps are better than corks. Is that really true?
Reply: Hi, Josh. Thanks for writing. Things have changed so rapidly in the world of wine closures that it’s hard for anyone to keep up! It used to be so simple. Quality wines were finished with natural cork. Any other sort of seal was meant for the cheap stuff.
I’m afraid the best short answer to your question is “I’m not sure.” The thing is, it depends upon the situation.
For wines meant for early drinking, which is most of the world’s wine, I think it’s safe to say that the screw cap is the best choice. That is, in terms of function.
There’s no getting away from the emotional reaction. Surveys show that people are more accepting of screw caps than they used to be, but there are still a lot of folks who just don’t like them. I have to admit that the crack of the screwcap coming off can’t compete with the subtle “pop” of the cork coming out of the bottle when it comes to romance.
But functionally, they keep the wine fresher longer that a traditional cork. And, that applies to almost all white and rosé wine and even a lot of reds.
That’s great news because with a screw cap there’s zero risk of cork taint – you know – that musty, moldy smell that reminds you of your grandmother’s basement. They’re also great when you’re on a picnic and forgot you corkscrew!
For wines that are meant for bottle aging – and these are mainly high quality, full-bodied reds and high-end dessert wines – the jury is still out. We’re not sure what to expect over the long term. Continue reading →