business news in context, analysis with attitude

by Kevin Coupe

I've long been on the record here about how I prefer corks to screw tops when it comes to wine. I understand that there are divergent opinions on this - some people think that screw tops are more reliable in terms of maintaining wine quality, and some people think of such a statement as a kind of sacrilege.

My preference has less to do with wine quality and everything to do with romance. There are few sounds in life as pleasing as the sound of a cork being pulled from the bottle of wine. There is a sense of romance, of possibility. It seems that lately much of life has been drained of both, and so I hate to lose that sound.

Which made me interested over the weekend when my friend Marv Imus sent me a story from Food & Wine about an experiment being conducted that "hopes to prove that there’s even more to that cork pop than meets the eye: Does the sound of a 'pop' actually make the wine taste better?"

Now, I have a feeling I know how the experiment will turn out - it seems that "The Grand Cork Experiment," is being funded "by the Portuguese Cork Association (APCOR) – out of their promotions budget no less."

The test "is being conducted in a converted event space in the hip London neighborhood of Soho," Food & Wine writes. "In fact, the Experiment’s whole experience is basically a tribute to the cork … which is a bit of a shame because the experiment itself is damn interesting."

According to the story, "Participants are given four wines and a set of headphones. The wines are served in pairs, but – here’s the rub – before the tastings, drinkers either hear the sound of a cork popping or a screwcap being twisted open. They’re then asked to rate the wines on quality, intensity and how much they invoked a feeling of celebration."

Food & Wine promises to report back on the results, and so do I. Though they do make a legitimate point - that if the screwcap wins, "we’ll probably never hear about this experiment ever again."

I hope we do. And I hope the results are an Eye-Opener.
KC's View: