The debate between cork and screwcap has been going on for ages. Some think the sound of a cork being drawn from a wine bottle is the perfect prelude to a glassful and anything else takes away part of the enjoyment. Others prefer the simplicity of a screwcap, knowing that they don’t have to go searching for a corkscrew wherever they happen to be and risking their wine might be ‘corked’.
There are advantages and disadvantages to both corks and screwcaps that I won’t go into here but, personally, I’m more concerned with what’s inside the bottle rather than how it’s kept secure until I’m ready to drink it.
But occasionally, you will see a different sort of closure and the first time you meet it, it may not be immediately obvious how it opens. It’s made of glass and in its closed form it looks like the picture below, sometimes with a plastic or foil cap over it:
The easiest way to open it is to run a knife round the top of the neck of the bottle and lever the stopper off – the picture below shows the bottle with the stopper raised ready to simply lift off.
You might also find something similar which, although also made of glass, works just like a screwcap. It should be obvious which you’re dealing with. They are both relatively expensive to make so you won’t see them too often. Cork lovers will still miss the lovely sound that a cork makes, but they look stylish and the bottles can be re-used as the stopper fits back into the neck properly.
A word of warning, though: don’t do what a friend of mine did. Normally a sensible, practical person, he couldn’t work out at all how to open it so phoned me for advice. Sadly, I was out at the time and missed his call. In frustration, he used a hammer on the top of the bottle resulting in a lot of mess and wasting a very nice wine! I don’t let him forget it!