Opening screw caps

Wine should be pleasure. Drink wine you enjoy, in a glass you like, at the temperature you desire, with food you love, with friends who bring each other delight.

Wine also is evolving adventure, so try new things—from wines to tools to techniques. To that end, a twist submitted for your consideration on simple act of opening a screw cap bottle.

Screw caps are here to stay, and for most wines they are superior to corks. Portugal and purists and cork hoarders may pucker at that proposition, but the debate has moved forward to the preferred method of opening a screw cap and well beyond notions that a screw cap signals wines made for hobos living under highway overpasses.

Opening a screw cap seems so simple it may surprise you there is discussion about how to do it, but there happens to be a method you may not have considered. First inclination is to grasp and twist only the top above the perforations where the cap will separate from the complete sleeve, the way most people open soda or bottled water.

Here’s another way. Grasp the entire closure with your full hand and twist the bottle and the closure in opposite directions. Similar to twisting the bottle instead of the cork when opening sparkling wine, you may find the technique produces a quicker, easier opening. The separation of the cap from the sleeve along the perforation line even feels good as it pops apart against your palm.

Who would have thought something so elemental could have nuance and rival techniques, but such is the plentiful pleasure of wine. Try it. How do you do screw cap? Email me at

Recommended (all screw caps):

• Hess Select North Coast Sauvignon Blanc 2011. Apple, lime, grapefruit pinch of pear; light body, crisp acidity, plays well with food. $11

• Robert Oatley Cabernet Sauvignon-Merlot Mudgee 2007. Bright, crisp, juicy; cherry, raspberry; improve with decant, easy drinking winner. $18

• Hewitson Miss Harry 2004. Grenache-Shiraz-Mourvèdre; concentrated strawberry, plum, cherry, spice; earthy, vivid, delicious; drink now. $20