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Jul 15, 2006 08:18 PM

Is it unusual to open a wine that does not have a cork?

I opened a Marlborough Sileni 2005 Sauvignon Blanc last night that did not have a cork in it. I was mildly surprised, and unsure if this is normal as I am not a huge connoiseur of wine. I know that there is a swing towards synthetic corks, screw tops and other newer forms of capping off the bottles, but has anyone else seen this? The wine was fine, quite good in fact, and I was not in a position to return to the store with it, nor did I think the slacker behind the counter at the liquor store would have had any answers to my inquiry.

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  1. I'm a little confused. If no cork, did it have a screwtop? Screwtops are quite common now, esp for wines meant to be drunk young.

    4 Replies
    1. re: Darren72

      No screwtop, I just cut off the foil and the bottle was ready to pour, nothing else.

      1. re: cooknKate

        I'm fairly certain that Sileni Sauvignon Blanc exported to the States is bottled under screwcap, likely Stelvin. Did the foil seem harder than usual to cut off? Perhaps you cut through the aluminum cap and then the cap twisted off. If it had no cork or other closure, the wine would not be in good shape. Some times bottles do make it to market without only a capsule and no closure. However, the foil capsule alone can't protect the contents from oxidation.

        1. re: Melanie Wong

          It was harder than normal to cut off, and I believe there were threads. I can't recall though, we killed the bottle in the hot tub last night and it went out with recycling this morning! OK, mystery with less knowledge and you all with what I need.

        2. re: cooknKate

          Sileni is moving toward screwcaps for all its wines. The wines for short-term drinking -- and that includes the sauvignon blanc -- are almost assuredly all screwcaped (go to and you can ask the winemaker or marketing people about your particular bottle). I suspect the capsule you cut away was, in fact, a screwcap (you wouldn't be the first to make the mistake). Does the inside of the top of the capsule contain a plastic liner? Is the top of the bottle treaded?

      2. Most of the New Zealand whites we drink come with screwtops. It is a slightly different system from the one used on non-wine bottles.

        Here's a pretty good article from the Washington Post on the topic.

        1. Oh To Screw or not To Screw. Check out Bonny Doon's website, also check out their wines. Delish. But I digress.

          The Stelvin closure (screwcap) is going to be the wave of the future, some wineries won't budge with the cork, but most forward thinking wineries will. Anyone trying to resist, should think of medicine, liquor and soft drinks. The screw cap is the best way for sealing liquid.

          The best trick in opening the screw cap is to twist the neck of the closure the opposite way, break the seal, then screw off the top cap.

          If you are ever having a party with lots of wine- screw caps are the best way to go.

          1. Almost all New Zealand wines I've seen in the last couple of years have had Stelvin closures, even >$40 bottles of pinot noir.

            I often scan wine shop shelves for screwcaps, figuring that any winery hip enough to use them will likely be ahead of the crowd in other ways as well.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Robert Lauriston

              Yes, most NZ wineries are using Stelvin.
              A few PN producers in the Central Coast, too.

              It is the wave of the future and it potentially eliminates that dreaded TCA-tainted or corked wines.

            2. I had the same problem as the original posting. Bought a bottle of an Italian white in NJ- from a reputable shop and from a reputable winery. Had the foil, but no cork! Apparently, from asking around, alas, some Italian wineries appear to have the highest incidence of Missing Cork Syndrome.