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Theatrical Screwtops for Wine

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I am shocked that there is no "Food: Drink: Wine" category. So much so that I am having an extra glass of wine to get over it.

Screw-tops for wine are one the greatest contributions to human progress since wine. A lot of people used to get (and still do get) all snooty about them, either because the first wines to be given screw- tops were pretty cheap and nasty, or because the people in question do not actually know much about wine.

With very few exceptions, a bottle of wine is not a religious artefact - it's a drink that can be bad, indifferent or good. Screwtops eliminate the risk of a bottle being corked, and have the advantages of not requiring special hardware and of being easily re- closeable in the unlikely event that you are left with an unfinished bottle at the end of breakfast. Only a subset of mostly expensive wines benefit from storage under a cork if kept for years or decades.

Howevertheless, it can't be denied that screw-tops lack theatre. There is no elaborate foil-cutting and cork-screwing, no moment of suspense as the sommelier buries your bottle between his thighs and tugs. No squeak of cork easing out of glass. No cheerful "pop". Instead, there's just a little snapping sound - rather like that of a small mammal having its neck broken - as the screw-top breaks away from the metal collar. It's all a little bit sad.

Proposed, therefore, is an altogether more engaging screw- top. To begin with, it should have the same lead-foil condom over it that is found on cork bottles, with a little tab that can be peeled to remove the foil. Next, the thread of the screw-top (or at least the bottom-most part of it) should have a layer of gutta-percha bonded to it - this will squeak appealingly as the cap is twisted. Finally, the tiny bits of metal that connect the cap to the metal collar should be a little wider than they currently are, and should be designed in varying thicknesses so that they snap - audibly - in succession rather than all at once. Potentially, the metalwork could be engineered to produce pings rather than snaps, perhaps in ascending pitch. The last bit of metal should be particularly strong, such that significant effort is needed to finally free the cap from the collar, and a significant sound is produced.

Having thus broken the bonds between the cap and the collar, we now need to think about the sound of the actual unscrewing process. At present, it's just a sort of scritty-scratty sound of thin metal sliding over glass. Instead, the glass thread of the bottleneck should be embossed with transverse grooves which engage with one or more little metal nubbins in the cap, to produce something more sonorous.

Finally, with the bottle opened, there is one last step in the ritual to be addressed. With a cork bottle, it's customary to hand the cork to a designated cork-sniffer amongst the party, to verify that all is well and the bottle isn't corked. Failing this, a small amount of wine can be poured for tasting, for the same reason. Neither of these can (or should) be done with a screw-top bottle: there is no point in sniffing the cap itself, and equally there is little point in tasting the wine since it can't possibly be corked. It is, in fact, bad form to taste a screw-top wine in this way, unless you suspect that the wine has been tampered with (for instance, refilled with a cheaper wine and re-capped), which is unlikely in the extreme.

So, what to do in lieu of cork-sniffing or tasting? Well, perhaps the simplest option is to have a little dot inside the cap that responds to temperature by changing colour. When the screw-cap is presented to you, simply peer into it knowingly - perhaps hold it up to the light - and see if it indicates a suitable temperature for the wine in question. If all is well (or even if it's not - most people bluff), you can then give the sommelier that special nod that says "I, an authority on wines, recognise that you, the sommelier, have correctly opened the right bottle of wine, and that it is fit to be distributed amongst the others at the table".


MaxwellBuchanan, Mar 26 2019

Here's one product for somebody who gets their kicks by twisting off the heads of little animals. https://www.google....&source=sh%2Fx%2Fim
[doctorremulac3, Mar 30 2019]


       I have no problem with the inventiveness, but this will lead to a further decline of the traditional cork industry, along with all of the elaborate cork screw makers.
xenzag, Mar 26 2019

       Why not just add one of those little sound chips they have in the tackier kind of greetings cards to the bottle top, so that the bottle sounds a theatrical trumpet fanfare when opened?

//I am shocked that there is no "Food: Drink: Wine" category//

But there is a "Food: Alcohol: Wine" category - I can therefore only conclude that you were keen that your idea was also applicable to non-alcoholic 'wines'...
hippo, Mar 26 2019

Voice, Mar 26 2019

       //"Food: Alcohol: Wine" category// Ah - so there is. Moved.
MaxwellBuchanan, Mar 26 2019

       //elaborate cork screw makers.//   

       Hmm. That's a good point. Perhaps the new screw-tops could have indentations on their tops rather like those in locking wheel-nuts. In that way, it would be *possible* to open a bottle with bare hands but, for added effect, you could also use an elaborate opener rather like a tyre-iron. The opener would, of course, have to have the right profile to fit the particular bottle in question: "Renée, get me a number five Pinot Gris key, 2016-18."
MaxwellBuchanan, Mar 26 2019

       Ahh, the turn of the screw
not_morrison_rm, Mar 27 2019

       //Howevertheless, it can't be denied that screw-tops lack theatre.//   

       I deny it! It is possible to pull off a little theatre by first clicking free the metal perforations that lock the screwtop in place with a forceful micro-twist. Then, with the screwtop free from encumbrance, a controlled spin can be introduced by putting lateral pressure and allowing it to unscrew by rolling it down the side of the index finger until the finger flicks past the end, sending the screwtop into a frantic spin - this can, with practice, launch the screwtop into the air, and whilst it lacks the full operatic pomp and ballistic oomph of a champagne cork, it is normally enough to generate tuts and eye-rolling from the more staid of guests.
zen_tom, Mar 27 2019

       Another thing that could be done would be to have a cross-head screw head embossed in the metal screw-top cap. This would enable the wine bottle to be opened with a standard electric screwdriver. This pointless addition of noisy technology to the challenge of opening a bottle of wine is guaranteed to add the desired theatricality.

Naturally, more expensive bottles of wine would have to be opened with hex or torx bits.
hippo, Mar 27 2019

       For theatricality, the metal tabs between the collar and the cap should be coated in silver fulminate, so that successful unscrewing is accompanied with a loud bang.   

       I am also partial to the idea of opening a bottle of wine with a rip cord like you might find on a small petrol engine.
mitxela, Mar 28 2019

       //After the bottle is opened, a nearby Mac Mini could be upgraded// - or a MacBook, if the host was opening a bottle of Apple Wine, with the special Pentalobe™ bits.
hippo, Mar 28 2019

       //opening a bottle of wine with a rip cord//   

       Why not have a small pull-start clip-on petrol-powered 2-stroke wine bottle screw-cap unscrewing device?
pocmloc, Mar 28 2019

       Because then you'll shake the contents, and quite possibly find the bottle's natural frequency. I suppose the result could make for good theatre.   

       In America, the caps would be adorned by a battery- powered farting light-up Donald Duck character clutching a styrofoam fan blade. That passes for theatre here.
RayfordSteele, Mar 28 2019

       //No cheerful "pop". Instead, there's just a little snapping sound - rather like that of a small mammal having its neck broken//   

       Never thought about it that way, but I could have sworn that in my youth I've opened novelty, character shaped bottles of shampoo for instance, that featured a representation of an animal's head for a cap. Didn't consider the "twist the head off, pour the liquid out" aspect at the time.
doctorremulac3, Mar 30 2019


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