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Cork Producers Hit a New Low by Insulting Women and Wine Drinkers

I've long been critical of the great, and outlandish lengths that cork producers seem to go to create negative sentiment towards alternative wine closures, and to promote their own products as the only real choice.

I thought they had stooped about as low as they could go when they suggested that buying wine closed with screwcaps was killing an endangered species, but now they've outdone themselves with their latest series of ads.

In a remarkable feat of crass and loathsome marketing, the cork lobby has managed to both insult the intelligence of women, and every wine lover that has ever bought a bottle wine with an alternative closure.

Clever to be sure. Full of great little moments, like the drooping cork, and lines like "swarthy Portuguese farmers". And totally based in reality, right? Of course. Women are so shallow as to decide who they sleep with based on wine closures.

And then there's this one:

Yep, ladies, open that screwcap and you're a "conniving, brown nosing, ambitious wench.. back stabbing, double porking (?) amoral, trixie... corporate lackey to the big oil companies that poison our air and birth those devil screwcaps."

While you're ridiculing the intelligence of women, why not take the opportunity to throw "the public sector" under the bus, too?

There's just so many things wrong with these ads. Starting with Mr. Garth Lockwood "Master Sommelier" (who by the way, does not appear anywhere in the list of actual Master Sommeliers). This image of the haughty, upper class wine snob is exactly what keeps more Americans from enjoying wine, fearful as they are of making some sort of faux pas, like mis-pronouncing Merlot. You'd think that an industry whose vital interests depended upon more people drinking wine might want to encourage it, rather than add more anxiety onto the pile that keeps people from embracing wine more fully.

Then there's the implication that any wine closed with an alternative stopper is inferior. Let's humiliate all the folks that can really only afford wines closed with something other than an expensive natural cork, shall we? That will do wonders for the wine world.

Oh, and not only will we make them feel like cheapskates, let's try to make them feel worse, by suggesting that not only are they buying inferior wine that will make people think less of them, but they're also going to be poisoning the planet.

What a load of crap. Sure, cork is a renewable resource. But it's also a massive industrial product that produces an awful lot of waste both in terms of chemicals and carbon dioxide. Less than screwcaps? Perhaps, and certainly corks are more biodegradable. But we're not talking about the difference between solar power and coal here.

And where does this notion that the big oil companies are responsible for "birthing those devil screwcaps" come from? Last time I checked most of them were aluminum. Sure, there's a liner that's a petroleum product, but I guess big oil is a better punching bag these days.

Clearly a lot of money is being spent here. I can't help but wonder what the cork industry is thinking. Sure, they're in a pickle (of their own making) that has demand for cork dropping. But certainly there has to be a better way to promote your product than insulting people and making highly specious arguments about how competitive products are environmental disasters.

And finally, let's just look at the principle at work here. Behind this "classy" front of Mr. Garth Lockwood, the cork industry is engaging in what is essentially the most un-classy kind of marketing. The kind where your main efforts involve the denigration of your competitor. That's the real faux pas.

I used to have only one thing against cork -- its failure rate. But the cork industry has been working on that, and apparently it's getting better. Good for them. But every ad like this helps me celebrate a little bit more every time I twist off a screwcap or unplug a glass stopper.

Comments (58)

Dan Sims wrote:
12.15.10 at 9:30 PM

OMG ...

I cannot actually believe that actually just happened. I mean seriously ... are you kidding? How on earth could an advert like that happen?

There is nothing to 'impress people' about wine tainted by cork ...
Environmental impact of screw cap? What about that of wasting an entire growing season in a vineyard, water (to irrigate), man/people power, labeling, shipping, marketing etc only to have it mucked up by a piece of bark!
And I can't believe how insulting that is to women/ALL wine drinkers.

Sure, cork is getting better but why tolerate something that has such a failure rate. Would you accept a TV if it had a slight flicker in the corner ... No. And that guy acting as a 'Master Sommelier' ... that just gives ALL sommeliers a bad name. In short, #Aplusdouchebag

Agree with you entirely Alder, terrible indeed ...

Alder Yarrow wrote:
12.15.10 at 9:42 PM

Oh yes, of course, how could I forget what an insult this video is to anyone who actually is a sommelier. Thanks for chiming in, Dan.

Chris Bryant wrote:
12.16.10 at 2:17 AM

I agree with your points. I think that it is indicative of the attitude that seems to have taken root in the wine media of simply attacking those you don't agree with.
One thing that I think should also be noted, is the question of how supportive the producers who use corks are of these sorts of tactics. I would doubt that these ads will change the world, but by taking a generic approach to a product that is used by brands that have such diverse points of difference, is to risk influencing consumers attitudes in the negative. If I was a producer fully committed to cork closures and happy with them, I would not want to be even loosely associated with such lame and insulting campaigns. Would I change from cork? Unlikely. But it is just going to piss me off.

Paula wrote:
12.16.10 at 3:56 AM

Are you KIDDING me????!!!! Do you actually think the screw cap industry is playing it straight??? Every time they mention cork taint, cork taint, cork taint...EXCUSE ME???? they keep hitting this button and have also made numerous videos one of which is that if you open a screw cap wine using your arm it is far more romantic than by any other means. Give me a break!!! I love wine and I have a clear understanding of what choosing cork means. On a recent trip (on holiday) to the montado areas of the Alentejo it really impacted me. That lead me to take a wine tasting course where I learnt a number of wine faults - which may I add ARE NOT easy to detect and identify. So how the vast number of outspoken people can attribute "cork taint" fault to cork and actually be certain this is the fault is besides me!!! (maybe a flaw in perception or a push from the screw cap industry) The "date video" could be a little less shallow but hey cork keeps getting hit on the head with the same issue over and over again and the screw industry is not as innocent as it may seem. Do the research.

Anonymous wrote:
12.16.10 at 7:18 AM

The ads are clearly made in jest. You seem to be overreacting. I have not taken a pro or anti cork position but in this case I would suggest that you uncork a nice bottle of red, sit back, relax and enjoy it.

Mark wrote:
12.16.10 at 8:22 AM

Jest or not....this is seriously misguided. Why run an advertising campaign which insults both professionally trained Sommeliers as well as people who are just starting to become interested in wine? That doesn't sound like a great idea to me. Can't we simply focus on education about the issues and leave the slander for politicians?

Anonymous wrote:
12.16.10 at 8:36 AM

And hear the whooshing sound as this satire of wine snobbery (the ad) flies over the heads of the very subjects of said satire.

Anonymous wrote:
12.16.10 at 8:42 AM

It is not serious. You have to be extremely over sensitive to find this to be insulting to males, females, someliers or cork trees.
Maybe you need something stronger than wine and this ad is not really for you.

Anonymous wrote:
12.16.10 at 9:06 AM

So true...you would need to be overly sensitive, maybe even border on the emotionally unstable, to find this to be insultuous.

Tim wrote:
12.16.10 at 10:58 AM

Insulting? maybe not so much. stupid and silly indeed. a waste of money, sure! A great post Alder and I think it falls into the camp that most adverts are insulting to various degrees. The wine does not know how it is to be sealed and in my opinion it is all about choice. I happen to like choices and I know that when you buy a traditional closure there is a risk as tree bark is natural and never perfect. Zero defect is what I am after especially the more expensive the wine gets. I really like the screw top and the good conversation here...thanks for the focus group, cheers!

Karl Laczko wrote:
12.16.10 at 11:10 AM

I'm a fan of cork, with all its faults, and the cork farmers so "sympathetically" covered in the ads - but I have no problems with screwcaps either and I'm not conceited enough to say a screwcap is a career-limiting choice or a sign of a low quality wine, which is effectively what the last ad is saying. Any humour or satire has been lost in a poorly thought out campaign on a quality argument that was lost years ago.
Sure, I smiled a lot more at the first ad, it was done more tongue-in-cheek and I'm not keen on plastic closures, but it still takes itself a little too seriously, as does the "Sommelier".
The Pro-Cork lobby could well have shot itself in the foot with these ads, poor (or as may be seen on twitter, #FAIL).

Ward Kadel wrote:
12.16.10 at 11:25 AM

Great article, Alder. I've been following this campaign and am rather shocked at the lengths of their ridicule and the insults that they've taken throughout its lifetime so far. Well played, Portuguese Cork Association: you've now thoroughly insulted your clientele, humorous or no!
A visit to the website that they promote comes up with this little ditty from 11/16/10 (reposted from FoodTripper.com), featuring some further amazing leaps of logic:

"As with artisan cheese or bread, the use of natural cork may yield a slightly more variable product but, surely, this is part of its beauty, and down to the skill of the winemaker."

Really? Sooo, when I open that '95 Barolo that I received as a birthday gift and it's overwhelmingly corked, it's due to the skill of their winemaker? WOW, now your ad campaign is unfairly (and illogically) blaming your own product's defects on your business partners! Great job, yet again.

@Paula: Do your research?! You've clearly never read this blog. Do your *own* research. Alder is one of the leading wine writers of today, and is an impeccably ethical and well-researched writer.

@Anonymous: Why don't you quite trying to look like you are not one single poster and identify yourself so we can confirm whom might be your employer? Thank you.

Perhaps 100% Cork might be sweating a bit and reconsidering this inane ad campaign? Cheers, Alder!

jake wrote:
12.16.10 at 12:05 PM

yes, the cork lobby should fire their marketing department. But they do need one. Cork as a wine stopper is now almost certainly inferior. I am really tired of "corked" wines. And I don't see the charm, environmental, or romantic value of cork. All I see is that almost 5% of my collection is gone bad because of TCA. I had a 2003 Grosset Clare Valley Riesling with a screw top the other day and the wine was singing. I am glad at least our Australian neighbors are more widely adopting screw caps.

PaulG wrote:
12.16.10 at 1:21 PM

I totally agree with you on this one, Alder. The Cork People have hit a series of new lows. If they would address the real issue – TCA – rather than throwing up all these red herrings, and grabbing onto the hot topic of the day (eg reducing carbon emissions) to hitch their message to, then they might actually make some progress. And the wine snob gimmick is tired beyond belief. I suggest the Cork People get a new ad agency and start over.

Nunya Bizness wrote:
12.16.10 at 2:13 PM

Comon' people......get a freakin' life!!!! This stuff is FUNNY! Have you ever heard of "comedy"?

Cyril Penn wrote:
12.16.10 at 2:36 PM

lighten up guys - don't be so serious. I'm not surprised some were offended but I thought these videos were mildly amusing.

Colman Stephenson wrote:
12.16.10 at 2:37 PM

that is the worst piece of ad copy i've seen in a long time.

fire the agency now.

PaulG wrote:
12.16.10 at 2:47 PM

Just to be clear - I'm not offended – I'm just saying (based on 30+ years in media and having seen many thousands of tv ads and countless marketing campaigns) that this is wretchedly bad work. It is not funny, not hip, not effective in its messaging, and not even original (they are mimicking the Mac/PC ads). On the other hand, if I were a "swarthy Portuguese" I might actually be offended.

Laura wrote:
12.16.10 at 2:48 PM

I'm afraid it is you, Alder, who is insulting to women, suggesting we don't have a sense of humour.

12.16.10 at 3:55 PM

These ads really make me feel sad. Unfortunately there are still many wine consumers out there who don't like alternative closures, as it is not part of a traditional wine-culture.

I just have one big word for it all: Intolerance

Alder Yarrow wrote:
12.16.10 at 4:20 PM


Thanks for the comments. The screw cap industry may "make some videos" but they're not spending millions in marketing dollars to make false claims about the competition. Sure some TCA doesn't come from corks, but you can't deny that the cork industry has had a very bad, and still has a fundamental problem: that their product results in the spoilage of a certain percentage of the products it is used for. Even if it is 1% that is ridiculous. In no other food or beverage item is it acceptable for 1 out of 100 products to be spoiled. If that number of Coca Cola cans were rancid and bitter, do you think Coke would survive?

That tasting course you went to to learn what other sources of TCA were may have been paid for by the cork industry. One of the ones I went to was. Convenient, no?

Listen, I buy wines with cork too. And for the wines that I want to drink after thirty or forty years, there's no other closure I'd want in my bottle. But that doesn't mean that the cork industry can get a pass for faulty products, nor can they get a pass for really awful marketing campaigns. If they spent every dollar that they're spending trying to convince people that their product is superior on actually making it superior, we wouldn't be having this conversation.

The bottom line is that if corks were good enough, they wouldn't have anything to worry about.

Alder Yarrow wrote:
12.16.10 at 4:35 PM

Interestingly: yesterday the subtitle of the second ad that was posted to YouTube read "Master Sommelier Garth Lockwood...." Today it reads "Sommelier Garth Lockwood."

Wonder if they got a cease and desist from the Court of Master Sommeliers?

12.16.10 at 5:20 PM

I'm sure they did. The term MS is internationally trademarked and the court is very protective over the name.

Mauricio wrote:
12.16.10 at 5:46 PM

Good article.
The facts are, Alternatives to cork are use for wines that are meant to be drank now, so White, rose and cheap wines and wines with pH and VAs through the roof are most likely to be using this type of closures.
Well made, good quality wines that are made to age are more suitable for natural cork. It is all about choice and I like cork because of the above and the romanticism that goes with it...cork taint? well, s$%t happens. The adds are funny but not very good, I do not think they will work. Lacking creativity anyone?

12.16.10 at 6:38 PM

This is great!

Dan Sims wrote:
12.16.10 at 6:45 PM

I hope they did get a 'cease and desist' though regardless if they took 'Master' off the Sommelier next to his name, I still feel it gives those in the profession a bad name. No, we do not all act like douche's! (especially not in Australia - I'd like to think)

Mauricio - Your comments on what styles of wines are used for 'alternative to cork' is a pretty sweeping and inaccurate statement. 'Wine with PH and VA's through the roof' ... come on!

I'm with you on plastic corks but wines under screwcap age at basically the same rate as top quality cork. I've witnessed first hand examples of Riesling here in Australia that were bottled under screwcap from the 70's and whilst developed, are still fresh (without tca, random oxidization or 'scalping'. In short, and in the words of Dan Aykroyd (Spies like Us) 'We mock what we don't understand ...'

The vast majority of top quality producers in Australia (and our NZ cousins) use screwcap. Why, cos it bloody works!

mike wrote:
12.16.10 at 6:55 PM

mildly amusing, but I don't see how anyone could be offended by it anymore than most other commercials.

Anonymous wrote:
12.16.10 at 7:39 PM


I am the anonymous that posted two of the anonymous comments (plus this one).
I sense some paranoia in your comment. My remarks where really not worthy of such a conspiracy theory... Beer, wine, scotch, a cigar?

12.16.10 at 11:11 PM

For the past decade (at least) woman in television have been insulting the intelligence of men and most men haven't wined (like the pun?) or complained about it. But I choose NOT to watch most commercial televsion for that reason. They make guys out to be complete idiots. Was the spot shallow? Yes, of course. If you don't like it then buy wine without cork stoppers. If enough people do that then the cork industry will likely change their marketing strategies. I would suggest you stop being so sensitive. But that's just my opinion.

Angela wrote:
12.17.10 at 12:22 AM

Hey, you are all talking about it! Marketing mission accomplished, I guess...

Iris wrote:
12.17.10 at 1:38 AM

Well, Alder, personally I use high quality corks for my wines, because I like the old fashioned "plop" and make wines for long storage, a personal choice, which I impose on my clients;-). Screw caps and plastic corks for cheap wines to drink quickly, why not, it would be a piety to waste our slow growing cork trees on them... Looking at the two videos (without the sound, as I do most of the time), I would say, they are very funny - more like a persiflage about social prejudices connected to silly status symbols (like cork or plastic),the actors and images are so clearly overdone, that you couldn't take it in the first degree (and no woman would do so, I bet, to think that, would be the true insult;-)) - so take it for what it is, an advertising spot, which tries to attract the viewer by a funny exaggeration. In my opinion, the true message, which will last, are the pictures of the cork-tree woods, and according to the orientation of the viewer, he will either adore and keep a valorous image for cork closed bottles
or think, that it's a waste, to put such a noble product on quickly consumed products;-). Another choice problem.

Lincoln Siliakus wrote:
12.17.10 at 4:58 AM

Terrific, tongue in cheek stuff. Got everyone hot collared and missing the main point. This is not a technical issue, it's a cultural one. The Aussies had a spate of corked wines because they imported crappy cork for a while. Here in France, cork taint is as rare as a Parker 100 for a Loire valley red. No, it's cultural because your choice of closure betrays your attitude to the importance of authenticity in your life. That's why the French use cork and the ever-pragmatic Aussies etc can handle the "efficiency" of the new technologies. In France and much of "Old Europe", wine is not just a drink. It's your soul bubbling to the surface.

Jo Diaz wrote:
12.17.10 at 8:57 AM

Lincoln, can I quote you in one of my blog postings? You've gone right to the heart of it all. Brilliant.

12.17.10 at 9:03 AM

These ads are coming from both sides of the closure debate, and both sides are doing a poor job. Its like watching a poor political campaign.

On the one side, TCA exists, we need do deal with it, and take precautions against it.

On the other side, TCA exists, in production facilities as well as the cork that’s brought is. Switching to an alternative closure will not solve the problem if its in your walls.

There’s a place for both screw cap, and cork.

Why can’t we all just get along?

12.17.10 at 9:11 AM

Cork taint is only as "rare as a Parker 100 for a Loire valley red", Lincoln? wow...! that means the growers I work with and have visited these last 2 weeks just won a bouquet of awards! Must look them up. Get real - despite the rather late and frankly inadequate changes the cork industry is making in its production methods, there are LOADS of cork problems, from 'slightly' ruined fruit through to good old fashioned cork stink. If you don't believe me, I'll send you the bills my growers have to pay on returns!

Kathryn Lewis wrote:
12.17.10 at 9:18 AM

Thanks for your post, this is a great article!

Perfect timing: While at a wine tasting event I recently met some people who adamantly refuse to drink wine out of a bottle which has a screw cap (or plastic cork) due to it's "cheap" image. They are professed wine aficionados and spend thousands of bucks on wine monthly and have a several thousand bottle cellar in their home(it would be rare for them to purchase a bottle under $50). Then I learned from a mutual friend these "wine snobs" are smokers (yes, even when they are on a tasting adventure in Napa, Sonoma, etc).
I am conflicted, how can one be a wine snob and yet smoke during tasting? It goes against the grain. Researchers have concluded that smoking diminishes one's ability to taste and smell. It seems pointless to be snobby about a wine closure when there are plenty of great wine makers out there experimenting with various closure devices. And why bother drinking a $700 bottle of wine if you can't taste it, regardless of closure!

True wine lovers will judge for themselves and if a wine is great, does it REALLY matter about the closure???

Please weigh in, on your thoughts regarding closure devices (pros and cons)!

Thanks again for an excellent write-up!

12.17.10 at 9:29 AM

I've just been reading comments from collegues I'm getting via Facebook saying the video is just full of humor and not worth thinking too much about it...

... but just imagine I would do exactly the same Video comparing my wine with the wine from a fellow winery ... wouldn't this be insulting and unfair competition?

Alder you wrote that the campaign insults women and winedrinkers... but it's real intention is to insult the producers of alternative closures.

Susanna Kartha wrote:
12.17.10 at 11:26 AM

Let me just say that any "bad" publicity is "good" publicity, that's why we are talking about it, right? If the idea behind this, is to provide awareness to the final consumer, I think they are right on track.

I do believe you are being overly sensitive about the subject, but maybe you are just not used to see the cork industry take a leading role in protecting, but most importantly defend the right to inform consumers about their products and why we should use them.

Considering myself an inteligent woman (amongst many, I should add) who buys wine for my household I like to be informed and decide what I believe is the best for me and my family and I will NOT buy wines without a natural cork product in it, because I care about what my family drinks and what's directly in touch with the wine.

There are way too many people out there, ready to "attack" natural corks and defend alternative closures, because the reality is that alternative closures are way cheaper, but that's a word we don't want to use, do we? So, it's only normal that we want to bring up all the negative points of such a noble product, because we don't want the consumers like myself, to be fully informed.

TimBoDo wrote:
12.17.10 at 11:31 AM

I certainly don't think that the 100% Cork people (Portuguese Cork Association and the Cork Quality Council) or the agency that did this work intended to offend anyone - it seems safe to assume that they are smarter than that. However, the sarcasm is a bit too subtle and, judging by the reaction here, is going to turn off a lot of the people in the US audience they aim to pursuade. Even the sarcastic dig at working in the public sector, for example, just gives a wine snob feel to these that isn't good for anyone in the industry.

Thumbs down for sure - no matter where I stand on the closure debate. I hope the mud-slinging on this topic doesn't get any more attention that it already has. I think both sides are better served by taking the high road.

1WineDude wrote:
12.17.10 at 11:32 AM

I will give the 1st vid at least some props for attempting to be funny and somewhat achieving it (though it probably would have been funnier and more effective with a lot more silliness thrown in).

The 2nd vid is just epically, epically bad.

Matt Thomson wrote:
12.17.10 at 11:45 AM

You must be kidding to suggest that only wines meant to be consumed young are sealed with a screw cap...or with a high pH and VA...really?!!! Where do you get this from? You're clearly not familiar with the work in the early 70s by Michel Feuillat in Dijon.He bottled a number of Pinot Noirs under cork and Screwcap. In every case the screwcap sealed wine was better. I don't know about you but 40 years is nearly long enough for me, and is much longer than the AVERAGE cork will last.

Colman Stephenson wrote:
12.17.10 at 12:08 PM

The best researched, most balanced discussion of closure issues is certainly by Jamie Goode who published a book on this topic.


Alder Yarrow wrote:
12.17.10 at 12:17 PM


Thanks for the comments. I actually think "cheaper," depending on how you mean it, is a very important word, and not one that anyone in the industry would shy away from. The cost of putting a wine under screwcap is much lower than even the lowest quality natural cork. This is not only important, it's vital. There are a lot of wines out there (namely the ones that MOST people drink -- i.e. 95% of the market) that would not be able to be brought to market if they had to be bottled under natural cork. For instance. If YellowTail used natural cork, they'd go out of business. Their margins on their wines are so small, that the extra 60 cents per bottle for a cork would torpedo their business model.

And that's not even addressing the hidden "cost" of dealing with returned product due to cork failure.

While I appreciate and applaud the fact that you "care about what my family drinks and what's directly in touch with the wine" you are implying that wines under screwcap are not the same quality as those under cork an assertion that is easily disproven. Likewise, the notion that somehow what is "directly in touch" with the wine matters is fair enough, but you should also know that most wines spend time in contact with plastics, rubbers, metals, and all other sorts of non-organic products during the winemaking process, not to mention things like sulfur dioxide, cupric sulfate, bentonite, etc. To suggest that the tiny ring of plastic that sits under the aluminum screwcap somehow presents an objectionable "unnatural" intrusion into the wine is quite absurd.

One might as well object to buying wine at all because it comes in glass that is laced with trace heavy metals to color it, and it is processed in huge industrial facilities.

Matt Thomson wrote:
12.17.10 at 1:56 PM

When the New Zealand Screwcap Initiative first came together in an attempt to give wine lovers a better alternative than corks it was MORE expensive to use screwcaps! The bottles cost more. It was hard to get high-end bottles with a thread. As volume increased it has become more competitive. The reasons for NZ wine producers moving to screwcaps was for quality alone.

Susanna Kartha wrote:
12.17.10 at 2:53 PM


I appreciate the response to my comment. However, since I believe that some of the opinions presented in your response, might mislead the average consumer (like myself), who might just not be as informed, and end up reading this thread, I'm going to add my "housewife's 5 cents" to it. I will, though, stick to the subject, which is closures and not glass nor products used in the winemaking process - that will be for another discussion.

I agree with you when you say that most of the wines ("95% of the market") that people drink are affordable/cheap, below $10/bottle, after all, most of us are on a budget, but please allow me to disagree that out of those 95% they all have a non-natural product, which the way you said it, that's how it sounds and it's simply NOT true. For sure, if Yellow Tail used a 60 cents cork/bottle, at their price point, they would go out of business, but thank god, among other sources, there is Trader Joe's and the Two Buck Chuck, which allows women, like myself, and men, on a budget, to buy a very cheap wine (not Yellow Tail) with a natural product in it and if I may, for the price/quality of the wine, I think it's a pretty amazing deal. But according to what you just said, and comparing it to the Yellow Tail example, they would be bankrupt by now, in fact, they would not even exist anymore. Now check this out, not only do they use a natural closure, which doesn't look like it costs anything close to 60 cents/bottle (totally fine with me, because it's still natural), on top of that, I'm sure they don't have to worry with "...hidden "cost" of dealing with returned product due to cork failure" - at the speed that the wine fly’s out of the shelf, if there was a cork failure problem, I bet you they would be leading the non-natural closure usage. Another example is Beringer (there's actually a video included in this campaign - maybe you didn't see it yet, but they are one of the wine producers supporting the 100% cork products), I can finally buy their cheap wines again, because they stopped using plastic corks and went back to use a natural product, which again, does not look like the cork you would pull out of a Silver Oak bottle, that one probably cost's 60 cents or more, and I appreciate it, because if I'm spending top dollar on a bottle, I want to see something different than what's used on a cheap wine... and no, I did not and am not implying that wines with a plastic or screw-top are of bad quality. I just want to be able to buy our cheap and non-cheap wines with a natural product, the same way I can go to the farmers market and not the supermarket for my fruits and vegetables.

I don't want to extend my response and give more examples, because there's plenty. I think whoever reads this will get the point I'm trying to make.

Mauricio wrote:
12.17.10 at 3:23 PM

MT & DS: That is what you are saying!
I do not think that anybody would put their US$6000+/ton of CS (or Syrah) fruit aged in US$900+/barrel wines into a bottle with a screw cap. Some body please tell my who does it so I can buy a bottle and change my mind!!! Sweet wines with high pH and VAs do not count cos they are meant to be drunk right away or they 'll go bad...
PS: there are plenty of great white and rose wines with screw caps that I enjoy every weekend with my family and friends.

Matt Thomson wrote:
12.17.10 at 3:43 PM

Mauricio> How about Felton Road from Central Otago (Pinot Noir). How about Boisset from Burgundy (GC red and white Burgundy). How about Laroche Chablis? These wines are designed to age as long or longer than many US $6000/Tone Cal CS or Syrah....and they are selling better too! Also take tardive styles of Gewurztraminer from Alsace. They are sweet and have a huge pH (the highest of any I know) and they age beautifully....if the dirty piece of bark they jam in happens to work OK and not stuff the wine it is supposed to be protecting that is!

Alder Yarrow wrote:
12.17.10 at 4:05 PM

Mauricio: Please see Plumpjack wines, which are very high-end Napa Cabernet, and bottled exclusively under screwcap. Price per bottle: $40-$90. How about Henscke Hill of Grace from Australia, arguably one of the single best Shiraz' in the world, bottle price well over $400. You are, as both MT and DS implied, very very wrong in your assertions.

Mauricio wrote:
12.17.10 at 5:41 PM

Alder, Cade and plumpjack whites are screwcap (as I said). Cade reds are screwcap OR cork and All PlumpJack reds are cork. They are definitely trying to find out if the wines would sale if they put screwcaps on it...Good for them...I tried some plumpjack wines in the past and I always used a cork screw to open them. PlumpJack will never put their $82 CS in a screwcap or maybe they will...if the ones with screwcap sale.
Matt, you r talking to the wrong guy. I drink one bottle of Pinot a year and it comes from Oregon. Chardonnay or Chablis if i get one it has to be real good.
Very, very wrong...I do not think so Alder. It is just my opinion, after been in the wine industry for 10 years in two different Countries.
PS: I love cork with my reds and whites with a screwcap and there is not wine worth $400...it is all about choice.

Hector Hill wrote:
12.17.10 at 6:46 PM

….and just think if a certain writer for the New York Times had co-authored this cork commercial they could have talked about entrepreneurial sommeliers “with lingering colds” having the ability to sniff cork, tell the year and location of that PCPC (Premier Cru Portuguese Cork- for those who don’t know the lingo)… how cool is that…

Anonymous wrote:
12.18.10 at 4:21 PM

if a high-end wine is so good it deserves a natural cork then why can't a cheaper wine also deserve it?? Doesnt make sense. Its all about perception. Screwcap and cork are both industries out to make money (so which business isnt??) difference is cork is a natural product and the aluminium industry is (if you look into the subject) far from ecological. It produces a tremendous amount of hazardous waste. Ten years ago the cork industry needed to clean its act up regarding quality closures. I dont think that is the issue any more. So as far as I am concerned the choice for wine is obvious.

Tranorix wrote:
12.18.10 at 8:44 PM

Whether or not cork is better, the point is that Big Cork is, ultimately, only going to diminish the classiness of their product with embarrassing ads like those featured above.

12.18.10 at 10:49 PM

@Susanna Are you a wine producer who's vintage had been totally spoilt because of the usage of a bad expensive cork supply?

Originally only natural corks existed on wine bottles…. then the demand for cork grew and grew as the amount of wine produced every year grew and grew …

Then suddenly, wine producers were faced with massive cork taint problems. But as it was the only closure those days , unfortunately we had this great dependency.

Now many years later, lowering the demand for cork has made them be more sensitive and careful in their production, so that today most wine producers using cork hopefully don't have massive problems with their corks anymore.

To keep the cork industry delivering this quality means, we need to give them competition. If you would like to see a cork in every bottle worldwide again, then I hope you will realize, what will happen ...

And yes, you are absolutely right… the Glassbottle is not a natural product.

Now please forgive me being a bit sarcastic here…
"Why is cork not used as a closure for water, softdrinks, beer?
Why is food packaging never made from cork?"

I am for competition to generate service and quality and appreciate tolerance and respect for the winemakers closures decision.

At the end of the day we all drink the wine and not the closure.

Personally, it is very hard work to sell wine under screwcap with a world full of prejudice. Videos like these don't help me at all and eventually makes me build my desire to create anti cork videos. But who will help me, when the cork industry starts to sue me?

Yes, I have over 20 years experience in the wine business, and over 10 years in two countries.
We were the first in Germany to produce the whole range under screwcap from our cheapest white 7€ to our most expensive red 42€.
And I will always barge in with arguments on people, that have never ever lost big money due to cork issues.

Pedro Costa wrote:
12.21.10 at 4:30 AM

Oh please, give me a break! Firs of all, let me say that I think both cork and screw-cap have their place on the wine industry. Now regarding this ad, do you really think it's insulting for women? Oh please, it's just a satiric comic ad that only insults people who have issues that go a lot beyond a inoffensive ad I laughed a little! And remark, I don't think at all that women are less intelligent than men.

jorge goncalves wrote:
01.14.11 at 4:05 PM

the discussion greatly misses the main point and it seems to be carried largely by the consumer end.
alternative closures, a rather innocent sounding term with a lovely marketing aftertaste is meant to replace a sustainable and generations old farming practice with any unsustainable toxic life cycle product. this is a packaging industry question and its only intention is to satisfy greed. The sequence of product solution and subsequent impact discovery speaks volumes about the dishonesty of the packaging industry. First comes the idea, then the discovery of impact by an outside party, then the marketing justification, then the long pseudo scientific explanation, then the economic argument, then a band aid, then a new idea, repeat.

honest and tentatively sustainable farming (because all one can do is have good intentions and work with nature) the practice of growing plants with the desire that one's grand children will still be able to live on the same land has little to do with money and a lot to do with caring for the soil and all, not just some of the creatures that live on, in, and from it.
I do encourage the 'poor' New Zealand wine growers who suddenly felt the need to address the 'monumental' loss in revenues and started this I encourage switching their farming methods to either in vitro or at the very least to a soil free hydroponic method with timed nutrient discharge and a sterile controlled environment and growth lamps. A visit to Canadian tomato growers may go a long way in learning to guarantee financial success year in and year out, altogether disregarding of how much available sun, rain, and any other natural cycles did to the wine in a given year. not to mention the lack of weeds you will enjoy.

all while I love my weeds and all the ecological health they contribute to the wine and its people.
Cork and wood means essentially that a few good farmers and craftswomen can not only make the wine but also grow and make the containers. My great grand parents did and so will I.

Alder Yarrow wrote:
01.14.11 at 10:32 PM


Thanks for the comments. You've certainly got your point of view, and you're entitled to it, but you're not really marshalling facts well in defense of it. In particular, you've picked the wrong group of winegrowers to imply an agenda of disregard for the environment. The New Zealand wine industry is, by most accounts, the most environmentally friendly and sustainable in the entire world, with what I believe is the largest percentage of organically grown grapes of any wine region.

For all your claims of the discussion "missing the main point" you seem to have missed the main point justifying the existence of the alternative closure industry: bacteriologically tainted cork. So tainted, I might add, in part because of that industry's use of excessive quantities of chlorine, which is hardly a sustainably farmed, weed friendly, natural product.

Derek wrote:
02.26.11 at 4:36 PM

Please, I love this commercial every commercial out there is made not to piss off women its stupid, god forbid the man in the cell phone ad makes the better choice over the woman, then all the women's groups will cry about how offensive the ad is no wonder every commercial out there kisses up to women

Drew wrote:
03.13.11 at 6:41 PM

The ads make cork-lovers appear as complete and utter narcisstic wankers (toffs/tools/jerkoffs). Haha well done in that regards.

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