A good friend of mine is constantly asking me for "a bottle of wine to take to my cousin's house." Because this friend has cousins the way Wilt Chamberlain had girlfriends, I probably give her half a dozen bottles a month. Not long ago, I handed over a bottle of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc that was closed with a screw cap instead of a cork. My ungrateful friend gave it a skeptical look. "It's a good wineyour cousin will like it," I said reassuringly.
The next day, she called in a huff. Her cousin had cut his hand trying to open the bottle. He hadn't realized it was closed with a screw cap until it was too lateafter he'd plunged the corkscrew through the metal, gashing his finger in the process. "I thought for a minute it might be a screw cap," the bleeding cousin had reportedly said to my friend, "but I didn't think you'd ever bring that kind of wine to our house."
According to Chris Adams of Sherry-Lehmann Wine and Spirits in Manhattan, quite a few of his customers have done much the same thing. Some, he admitted, were "miffed" (that's the way Madison Avenue wine merchants talk) when they found that their wine had a cap, but most, he claimed, were nonchalant. Except one woman, who returned an entire case of screw caps because her guests "would not understand."