Zork closure

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Re: Zork closure

Postby Oliver McCrum » Sat Jul 08, 2006 3:08 pm

TimMc wrote:Sure hope we aren't on this same thread 300 years from now bemoaning the screw cap and it's inherent manufacturing defects. :wink:


Oliver McCrum wrote:That we have gotten inured to a 5-10% failure rate is fascinating.


Here's something that may spark an interest...it's not wine but interesting nonetheless:

"From the supplier: Linton, Matysiak & Wilkes, Inc has released the results of their study on new product introductions in the retail grocery industry. The study reviewed 1,935 new products from the top 20 food companies to determine overall product mortality, new item mortality, line extension mortality, line extension to new item ratios, regional breakdowns, and national introductions. The study found that the failure rate for new product introduction in the sector is 70% to 80% and that strategic marketing can increase new product success rate."




If this is the strongest argument you can come up with, Tim, I'm encouraged.

You are (deliberately, one hopes) confusing two different uses of the word 'failure.' I was talking about product defects, the study was talking about brands that didn't make it.
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Re: Zork closure

Postby TimMc » Sat Jul 08, 2006 6:31 pm

Oliver McCrum wrote:
TimMc wrote:Sure hope we aren't on this same thread 300 years from now bemoaning the screw cap and it's inherent manufacturing defects. :wink:


Oliver McCrum wrote:That we have gotten inured to a 5-10% failure rate is fascinating.


Here's something that may spark an interest...it's not wine but interesting nonetheless:

"From the supplier: Linton, Matysiak & Wilkes, Inc has released the results of their study on new product introductions in the retail grocery industry. The study reviewed 1,935 new products from the top 20 food companies to determine overall product mortality, new item mortality, line extension mortality, line extension to new item ratios, regional breakdowns, and national introductions. The study found that the failure rate for new product introduction in the sector is 70% to 80% and that strategic marketing can increase new product success rate."




If this is the strongest argument you can come up with, Tim, I'm encouraged.

You are (deliberately, one hopes) confusing two different uses of the word 'failure.' I was talking about product defects, the study was talking about brands that didn't make it.


Nope.

I was quoting an article that is discussing the resistance [by consumers] to new products introduced into the market and that the fix, it seems, is skillful marketing strategies. Ergo, the connection to screw caps is the resistance to their introduction and the "strategic marketing" being employed by the wine industry to sell the idea to consumers.


Besides....I was mocking :D
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Re: Zork closure

Postby Bob Ross » Sat Jul 08, 2006 7:44 pm

Tim, serious question, given your background.

There are so many products sold under screw cap or screw top -- olive oil, ketchup, sodas or pops, iced tea, beer, V8, milk ... I could expand the list by walking the aisles of any big food store.

What's so special about wine?

After all, for years the little bottles of booze (including wine) served on trains and planes were under screwcaps.

You seem to have a really negative attitude against screwcaps -- deeply felt I'm sure since I've encountered the attitude in at least one other winelover. But why?

It's not like the screwtop closure itself is so strange -- frankly the Zork seems like a really odd combination of screwcap and plastics masquerading as a cork. Badly, in my opinion.

I'm really surprised you can get so passionate against a closure for a beverage you clearly love.

And, what's the big deal -- based on your own evidence, there aren't many wines in the wine stores you frequent packaged under screwcap. You don't seem to be on a crusade against the New Zealand or Aussie winemakers who are jumping on the screwcap bandwagon. You seem to have a plethora of wines under cork to choose from.

Are you worried about romance for other "average" winemakers? Or do you fear that the winemakers you like will adopt a closure you dislike?

I'm really not debating or arguing, just trying to understand your strong emotional dislike for the closure.

Any insights gratefully, and carefully, received.

Thanks, Bob
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Re: Zork closure

Postby TimMc » Sat Jul 08, 2006 10:31 pm

Bob Ross wrote:Tim, serious question, given your background.

There are so many products sold under screw cap or screw top -- olive oil, ketchup, sodas or pops, iced tea, beer, V8, milk ... I could expand the list by walking the aisles of any big food store.

What's so special about wine?

After all, for years the little bottles of booze (including wine) served on trains and planes were under screwcaps.

You seem to have a really negative attitude against screwcaps -- deeply felt I'm sure since I've encountered the attitude in at least one other winelover. But why?

It's not like the screwtop closure itself is so strange -- frankly the Zork seems like a really odd combination of screwcap and plastics masquerading as a cork. Badly, in my opinion.

I'm really surprised you can get so passionate against a closure for a beverage you clearly love.

And, what's the big deal -- based on your own evidence, there aren't many wines in the wine stores you frequent packaged under screwcap. You don't seem to be on a crusade against the New Zealand or Aussie winemakers who are jumping on the screwcap bandwagon. You seem to have a plethora of wines under cork to choose from.

Are you worried about romance for other "average" winemakers? Or do you fear that the winemakers you like will adopt a closure you dislike?

I'm really not debating or arguing, just trying to understand your strong emotional dislike for the closure.

Any insights gratefully, and carefully, received.

Thanks, Bob


C'mon, Bob.

I have absolutely no problem with Aussie or Kiwi wines. None whatsoever. Their wines are excellent and I have served them at my dinner table and on numerous occasions.

My difficulty has and always will be with which wines get screw capped and which wines get corked.

It should be fairly obvious by now that the wineries which choose to screw, only do this to their low end wines; aka, the "cheap stuff."

My problem is, and forever shall be, with the prevailing wine industry attitude that folks who cannot afford $100+ dollar bottles of wine should be relegated to second class citizen status relative to who gets the screw and who gets the cork. They, [the less than rich folks] in fact, get the screw.

It surely sends a very negative message to moderate income folks...and to be honest, Bob...if you aren't seeing this distinction, I have to seriously wonder why. What aren't you seeing here?

Cork the good stuff, screw cap the cheap stuff.



Now lets be honest...what is the absolute and undeniably CLEAR message the wine industry is sending to us less-than-rich folks here, eh?




Answer: We "po' folk" just don't matter to them....rich folks, however, do.



THAT is my problem, Bob.
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Re: Zork closure

Postby Hoke » Sun Jul 09, 2006 12:35 am

Sorry, Tim. Your facts are wrong. It's not just the "cheap stuff" that gets the screwcaps. Other people have cited exqamples to the contrary in this thread, I believe, but I'll go ahead and cite a couple more.

Sonoma-Cutrer Vineyards puts their Founder's Reserve Chardonnay under screw cap...and have since the 1999 vintage. The Founder's is the winemaker's selection of what he considers the five finest barrels of each vintage. Currently only the Founder's goes under screwcap....although if the winemkaer had his way (didn't have to worry about marketing and sales rates, etc) he'd put everything he makes under screwcap.

Two reasoins: he thinks screwcaps are better in that the allow the drinker to experience what the winemaker intended the wine to tatse like, and corks (he feels) don't do that all that well, and certainly not consistently. Also, it would save him hundreds of man hours that he now spends on cork QC---only to still end up with a far higher failure rate than he can bear. He is enraged that he and his people can spend so much time, and so much money, and so much of his life, making the best possible wine, only to have it marred by a piece of tree bark.

I would also mention PlumpJack, which came out under screwcap the same year that the Founder's did (at first, it was half screwcap and half cork...the screwcap sold out immediately). Grosset Polish Hill Riesling, one of the finest Rieslings from Australia, has been under screwcap for years. Puts me back almost $30 a bottle. That is not what I call cheap.

There are other examples out there. Laroche Chablis, I beleive.

Why do you criticise wineries for taking the all too reasonable tack of trying their entry-level tier wines first before they commit to screwcaps, Tim? Not all wineries do that (as exampled above) but I think it would be a reasonable approach if they did.

I think you are letting your emotion cloud your reason here, Tim. You're taking this as a personal affront, a personal attack. You need to indulge ina little ratiocination.
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Re: Zork closure

Postby Cam Wheeler » Sun Jul 09, 2006 3:11 am

TimMc wrote:Now lets be honest...what is the absolute and undeniably CLEAR message the wine industry is sending to us less-than-rich folks here, eh?


Tim,

I don't really understand how you are coming to this conclusion.

There are a number of reasons that the cheaper level wines may be bottled under screwcap first. Such as testing the marketplace for acceptance - you don't want to bottle your entire run of a $100+ bottle of wine under screwcap and find out that you sell practically none. I also think that cheaper wines are generally not designed to live 30+ years, so there would not be the same concern about very long term aging under the closure for wines that will drink early or improve over 5-10 years. Maybe even just that people who are drinking everyday wines are less likely to be ridiculously snobby about a new closure and are actually the smarter consumers adapting to a superior closure?

I did a quick informal test 6 months ago and walking around my local bottle store a higher percentage of cheap white wines were still sealed with cork than the premium section ($30AUD+) ! Overall 36% of cheap wines were sealed with cork and 32% under screwcap, which to me doesn't look like anyone is seriously attempting some sort of wine drinker class division.

That said here are some more examples of non "cheap stuff" under screwcap -

Entire Seppelt range up to the flagship St Peters and Benno Shiraz ($50AUD).

50% of production of the Penfolds 2004 Block 42 and Bin60A wines ($450AUD a bottle)

Choice given when ordering on Giaconda, Moss Wood, Cullen premium wines (above $70AUD up to over $100 for the Giaconda Chardonnay)

Grosset range up to the Cabernet, Pinot and Riesling at $40AUD.

Gunderloch TBA '04 under screwcap was $550AUD a half bottle here!

I can understand not liking screwcap because you don't think wines will age well or other technical reasons, but I just can't make the connection that you do. I am of the opinion that those getting the chance to enjoy wines under screwcap are getting the better end of the deal rather than being anything close to "second class citizens".
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Re: Zork closure

Postby Jeff Grossman/NYC » Sun Jul 09, 2006 3:26 am

Sam Platt wrote:I corkscrewed my screwcaps with a Rabbit style lever-pull, and was totally oblivious to it the first time.


A friend told me tonight the story of what happened on a date he had a couple of weeks ago:

The date came over and brought a bottle. They decided to drink that one instead of the one my friend bought for the occasion. My friend then discovered that he did not have a corkscrew available. (He had just moved into a new apartment and hadn't unpacked everything yet.)

Thinking quickly -- but, perhaps, not altogether clearly -- he whipped out a cordless drill, fitted it with the largest bit in the case, and drilled a hole through the plastic cork.

This had several unfortunate effects.

Firstly, the plastic cork crumbled into little bits wherever the drill touched it. So, the bottle became an entertaining visual display with teeny plastic bits bobbing and floating on top of the wine.

Secondly, the drill made a lovely, clean hole that offered no purchase on the cork whatsoever. So, there was still no way he was going to get the stopper out of the neck of the bottle.

Finally, and most hilariously, it is really really hard to pour a liquid through a single not-overly-large hole in a cork. After no success at getting wine out through the hole, my friend loaded-up a small bit and drilled a second hole in the cork (to allow the pressure to equalize as he poured). This did not work exactly as planned, either, but they were eventually able to get wine into glasses by shaking the wine bottle as if it were an obstinate ketchup bottle. Shake, splish. Shake, splash. Shake, splish.

Then they used a spoon to scoop the plastic bits off the wine in the glass.

[ And, yes, they were laughing themselves silly during the whole process. ]
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Re: Zork closure

Postby Neil Courtney » Sun Jul 09, 2006 6:25 am

Jeff Grossman/NYC wrote:Firstly, the plastic cork crumbled into little bits wherever the drill touched it. So, the bottle became an entertaining visual display with teeny plastic bits bobbing and floating on top of the wine.


This makes me recall several occasions when the cork disintegrated under the ministrations of the corkscrew. The best option in this case is to take a screwdriver (or something small enough to fit in the neck of the bottle) and a hammer, and drive the cork INTO the bottle. After the first half glass, the cork does not chock up the neck, and the wine can be easily poured. This would not happen with a Zork, though.

And if you want to, you can use a cork remover tool to get the remnants of the cork OUT of the bottle before you pour the wine. Who owns one of these tools, and has actually used it in anger?
Cheers,
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Re: Zork closure

Postby Bill Buitenhuys » Sun Jul 09, 2006 9:54 am

And if you want to, you can use a cork remover tool to get the remnants of the cork OUT of the bottle before you pour the wine. Who owns one of these tools, and has actually used it in anger?
I'm the proud owner of one of these contraptions but I usually use it in embarrassment not anger. After having to borrow this device from Charles at two successive offlines for having completely ruined two corks (both were totally saturated, in my limited defense), I thought it would be best to get one of my own.
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Re: Zork closure

Postby David M. Bueker » Sun Jul 09, 2006 11:18 am

Domaine de Baumard is using screw caps on their "better" wines (though all their wines are very, very good).

Gunderloch is using screwcap, even on things like gold kap auslese. They don't generally use screw caps on the expensive 1/2 bottles of BA and TBA because there are very limited options for 1/2 bottles made to accept screw caps!

The message the wine industry is sending is no message about status. It's mostly about bottle availability.
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Re: Zork closure

Postby Sue Courtney » Sun Jul 09, 2006 11:34 am

David M. Bueker wrote:Gunderloch is using screwcap, even on things like gold kap auslese. They don't generally use screw caps on the expensive 1/2 bottles of BA and TBA because there are very limited options for 1/2 bottles made to accept screw caps!

The message the wine industry is sending is no message about status. It's mostly about bottle availability.


That was a problem here in NZ too but now the bottle people are manufacturing bottles to specifications, it seems. I've seen several different styles of half bottles from tall and sleek, to Bordeaux style to one very weird looking, dumpy burgundy bottle-shape style.

Cheers,
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Re: Zork closure

Postby James Roscoe » Sun Jul 09, 2006 11:35 am

David M. Bueker wrote:Domaine de Baumard is using screw caps on their "better" wines (though all their wines are very, very good).

Gunderloch is using screwcap, even on things like gold kap auslese. They don't generally use screw caps on the expensive 1/2 bottles of BA and TBA because there are very limited options for 1/2 bottles made to accept screw caps!

The message the wine industry is sending is no message about status. It's mostly about bottle availability.


Are you saying Gunderloch is using screw caps on its high end wines? Do they have no consideration for the consumer? This is sacrelige! The next thing you're going to tell me is that the Earth wasn't created in seven days! I refuse to belive it! Will you stop spreading lies and heresy on this board. If you don't you may find yourself in front of the Inquisition! :P
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Re: Zork closure

Postby Bill Buitenhuys » Sun Jul 09, 2006 12:19 pm

If you don't you may find yourself in front of the Inquisition!
Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!
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Re: Zork closure

Postby James Roscoe » Sun Jul 09, 2006 1:48 pm

Bill Buitenhuys wrote:
If you don't you may find yourself in front of the Inquisition!
Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!

But with corks you can hear the classic, "Bring out your dead! Bring out your dead!"
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Re: Zork closure

Postby David M. Bueker » Sun Jul 09, 2006 2:04 pm

Bill Buitenhuys wrote:
If you don't you may find yourself in front of the Inquisition!
Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!


Amongst our weaponry are such diverse elements as: FEAR, suprise, ruthless efficiency and an almost fanatical devotion to cork. Oh yes, and a nice silver cup we wear around our necks because it's traditional and aesthetically pleasing.
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Re: Zork closure

Postby James Roscoe » Sun Jul 09, 2006 2:14 pm

And let's not forget the Holy Handgrenade of Antioch!
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Re: Zork closure

Postby Otto » Sun Jul 09, 2006 2:45 pm

James Roscoe wrote:And let's not forget the Holy Handgrenade of Antioch!


Monty Python rocks! I didn't know there were other fans around...
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Re: Zork closure

Postby Bill Buitenhuys » Sun Jul 09, 2006 2:53 pm

Monty Python rocks! I didn't know there were other fans around...
Dont give me that, you snotty faced heap of parrot droppings!
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Re: Zork closure

Postby James Roscoe » Sun Jul 09, 2006 3:04 pm

There was only one good way to end this thread, with a bunch of Monty Python references. With all those corked wines smelling like dead parrots.
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Re: Zork closure

Postby Otto » Sun Jul 09, 2006 3:09 pm

They weren't dead. They were just pining for the cork groves.
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Re: Zork closure

Postby TimMc » Sun Jul 09, 2006 3:35 pm

Guys,

I am aware that there are a few wineries screw capping their high end stuff. Once again, the vast majority of high end wines on my wine seller's shelves are corked. This is a fact.

Again, the issue here is that an unfortunate assumption being made. That assumption is, moderate income folks don't lay down their wines or are assumed to open immediately all wine they buy. That simply is not true.

Another issue is that wineries have been telling us consumers for ions that cork is a necessary ingridient in the storage and/or aging of wine. Now, when the convenience and inexpensive nature of screw caps come along they are changing their collective stories. Again, Plumpjack and Bonny Doon [who still do not screw cap all the high end stuff] are the only wineries of note in California who are screw capping their more expensive wines. Besides, it is a novelty to them and the people who do buy Plumpjack [who was a relative unknown until they announced their own screw cap crusade to the wine world] wines as an example. They get to say they spent $100 bucks for screw capped wine then their guests are so amazed. If the industry is so enamored by this enclosure why don't they screw cap all their wines?

Because Diet Pepsi or ketchup is screw capped has little to do with the craftsmanship of vinting a fine bottle of wine. Wine making is an art and in every sense of the word. It deserves our respect as do the multi-talented people who labor with love of creating a product worthy of high praise and accolades. Nobody ages ketchup.

Wine is not at all comparable to mass produced condiments and soda....unless, of course, we are talking about Ripple or Boonsfarm, then we're back to the screw cap. In short, I am not at all convinced this whole screw cap thing is anything more than a charade, a novelty and, in my humble opinion, an insult to the value and creativeness of a most noble glass of fermented juice.
Last edited by TimMc on Sun Jul 09, 2006 3:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Zork closure

Postby Bob Ross » Sun Jul 09, 2006 3:38 pm

Tim, I think I'm starting to understand. I've been confused by some of your posts that indicate you dislike screwcaps because they interfere with the romance of drinking wine.

If I understand you correctly, if a winemaker uses screwcaps on their entire line, inexpensive as well as expensive wines, you have no problem with screwcaps. That would explain why you gladly serve Australian and New Zealand wines.

Just to test my understanding, you wouldn't have any problem serving any Bonny Doon wine since Randall bottles all of his wine under screwcap, right? Or anything released by Jean-Marie Guffens of Verget -- his wines sell for $8 to $200 in the New York markets, all under screwcaps, according to Robinson's article quoted below.

It might be worth mentioning that some commentators believe that screwcaps are not being used more because winemakers are concerned about consumer preferences. I found these Jancis Robinson's rant against plastic corks last June right on point:

If screwcaps are good at keeping air out, and their unit cost at around 3p (and no need for a capsule or foil over the top at around 0.8p) is low, there are two major problems with them. [For cost comparison purposes she writes: "A plastic cork costs considerably less than a natural one – well under 3p each when a good quality cork can easily cost more than 10p."]

Firstly screwcap application requires the installation of a completely new set of machinery from the old cork insertion kit. This has discouraged many smaller producers from adopting the screwcap, or Stelvin as it is known in many markets after the market leader, and has made plastic corks seem a much more attractive alternative. [Apparently this problem has been solved in Australia and New Zealand by mobile bottlers.]

***

Against screwcaps there is also the question of how we consumers feel about them. In Australia and New Zealand there is near total acceptance that this is the preferable closure. In the UK they are now commonplace in mass market wines; UK wine bottlers report that the proportion of all wine they stopper with a screwcap has risen to 85 per cent in the last three years. But in much of mainland Europe and certainly in the US there is still considerable consumer resistance.


In any event, thanks for your last posting, Tim. I hope I'm getting closer to understanding your position on screwcaps.

Regards, Bob

Tim, our posts crossed in the ether as it were. Bonny Doon claims: "In 2006, all Bonny Doon Vineyard wines will be available sealed with a Stelvin™ closure, the so-called screw cap." http://www.bonnydoonvineyard.com/dooniv ... t/screwcap

I'm not sure if they also offer other closures, but this is one winery that seems to believe they have value. B.
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Re: Zork closure

Postby TimMc » Sun Jul 09, 2006 3:49 pm

Bob,

You're half right...there are two issues here.

I will be convinced the wineries aren't attempting to pull one over on us when all wines, cheap to expensive, go screw cap. I am skeptical of the motivation to go screw cap.

Aesthetics do matter. So, if you are also asking if I would accept them over corked wines [plastic or zorked] the answer is still no. I enjoy the time honored ritual and romance of uncorking the bottle of a fine wine. However, as I stated earlier, Zork seems to be a reasonable alternative if we are being forced to go away from corks. I can live with Zork, but not screw caps.

BTW...the Aussie wines I buy generally have a cork or cork-like enclosure. My point was the wine is still good, I just don't much care for the screw cap.
Last edited by TimMc on Sun Jul 09, 2006 3:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Zork closure

Postby James Roscoe » Sun Jul 09, 2006 3:52 pm

TimMc wrote:Bob,

You're half right...there are two issues here.

I will be convinced the wineries aren't attempting to pull one over on us when all wines, cheap to expensive, go screw cap. I am skeptical of the motivation to go screw cap.

Aesthetics do matter. So, if you are also asking if I would accept them over corked wines [plastic or zorked] the answer is still no. I enjoy the time honored ritual and romance of uncorking the bottle of a fine wine. However, as I stated earlier, Zok seems to be a reasonable alternative if we are being forced to go away from corks.


She's a witch! She's a witch! (please, can't we end this with the Monty Python references?)
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