Winebits 392: Wine closures, cava, women winemakers

wine closures ? Bring on the screwcaps: Mike Veseth at the Wine Economist offers one of the best analyses of the state of the wine closures, noting that the number of wineries that used corks, synthetic corks, and screwcaps isn’t as important as the size of the winieres. This is something that the cork people ignore in their quest to convince us that 19th century technology is still relevant. In other words, the next time you see something from a cork producer talking about how many wineries use natural cork, know that about half the wine in the U.S. has a synthetic cork. The post also includes this great quote from Australian wine guru Hugh Johnson: “I am faintly irritated now when I come to open a bottle of wine and find I need a corkscrew. ? Who knew a wine guru would sound like the Wine Curmudgeon?

? Bring on the cava: Shocking news for the wine business, of course, because this is mostly cheap wine, but nothing that those of us who don’t pay attention already know: Cava sales are soaring, up by 4.6 percent last year. By comparison, overall wine sales were mostly flat in 2014. The top cava brand, black bottle Freixenet, is the country’s best-selling imported sparkling brand as well, even beating all those moscatos.

? Update: Bring on the women: Apparently, I’m not the only one who found flaws in this study. I wonder: What’s going on with people who publish studies with serious errors?

Women winemakers, woefully underrepresented in the male-dominated wine business, make the best wine, despite accounting for only about 10 percent of winemakers. That’s the conclusion of a sort of study from Gabriel Froymovich at consultancy Vineyard Financial Associates, who says “I have often lamented the under-representation of women in this business.” This would be huge news and worth its own blog post, save for the methodology, which is why I call it a sort of study. Froymovich equates price with quality, and we know what a swamp that is — and only does so because using scores would be too much work, he says. This not only assumes that higher priced wine is better, which no one has ever demonstrated to be true, but that it doesn’t require skill to make cheap wine. Somehow, I think Jenn Wall at Barefoot would argue that point. Note, too, that the Wine Curmudgeon has advocated for women winemakers for more than a decade, so my problems with the study are not the results, but that better math wasn’t used to get them.

Image courtesy of Wine Anorak, using a Creative Commons license

6 thoughts on “Winebits 392: Wine closures, cava, women winemakers

  • By JuliaB -

    This was one of your best posts. I found all the articles very interesting. Thought the cork vs. screwcap horse had been beaten enough, but the use of corks relative to the size of the winery was a new wrinkle. Good stuff!

    • By Wine Curmudgeon -

      Thanks for the kind words, but Mike Veseth at Wine the Economist, deserves credit for the cork thing.

  • By Ray Dietz -

    Is it just me or do other people have trouble opening screw caps. Usually, there is no way I can get them open without the aid of at least one pair of pliers! Is there a trick to opening screw caps that I’ve not yet discovered?

    • By Wine Curmudgeon -

      You’re kidding, right? I never have any trouble. Just hold the bottle, and unscrew the cap.

      • By Ray Dietz -

        Over the weekend I had occasion to open a bottle of 2013 Edna Valley Sauv. Blanc that has a screw cap. I held onto the bottle as you stated, Jeff and voila the cap turned right off. For some reason when I was opening screw caps before I was grasping the neck of the bottle and it just wasn’t working. I feel like such a dunce!

        • By Wine Curmudgeon -

          No need to feel silly. It’s all part of the vast conspiracy against wine drinkers. Just like your governor vetoing the privatization bill. You have my sympathy.

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