|For nearly four centuries virtually every bottle
of wine had a cork in it. But starting in the 1970s, a revolution began
to topple the cork monopoly. In recent years, the rebellion has been
gathering strength. Belatedly, the cork industry began fighting back,
while trying to retain its predominant position. Each year 20 billion
closures go onto wine bottles, and, increasingly, they are not corks.
The cause of the onslaught against cork is an obscure chemical compound
known as TCA. In amounts as low as several parts per trillion, the
compound can make a $400 bottle of wine smell like wet newspaper and
taste equally bad. Such wine is said to be "corked." While cork's
enemies urge people to throw off the old and embrace new closures,
millions of wine drinkers around the world are still in love with the
romance of the cork and the ceremony of opening a bottle.
With a thorough command of history, science, winemaking, and marketing,
George M. Taber examines all sides of the debate. Along the way, he
collects a host of great characters and pivotal moments in the
production, storage, and consumption of wine, and paints a truly
satisfying portrait of a wholly intriguing controversy. As Australian
winemaker Brian Croser describes it: "It's scary how passionate people
can be on this topic. Prejudice and extreme positions have taken over,
and science has often gone out the window."
To Cork or Not To Cork
Romance, Science, and the Battle for the Wine Bottle
by George M. Taber
Lyons Press, 2007.