jamie goode's wine blog

Friday, October 13, 2006

He has the zeal of an evangelist. He's travelling the world in search of converts. His passion knows few bounds. It's Tyson Stelzer - he's not after your soul, but instead earnestly desires to convert you to the object of his zeal - the screwcap. The message has now reached South Africa, and a pdf file of his presentation at a screwcap rally is here. I quote:

I put this challenge to you: I would like to see every bottle of 2008 South African Chenin Blanc screw-capped. Every bottle. Young, fresh styles, oaked styles and sweet styles. Domestic markets, export markets – every export market, every bottle. Every single bottle of 2008 South African Chenin Blanc. Australia did it with Riesling in 2000, Marlborough did it with Sauvignon Blanc in 2001. Now it’s South Africa’s turn to take the baton. Treat this as a challenge for getting every producer on side. Every producer. And then springboard off it to tackle your top reds in 2009.

It is not reported whether the winemakers came forwards weeping to pledge their wines to screwcap, or sat there wondering, 'who is this patronising w****r?' Personally, I think Tyson has left the path of reason a little by aligning himself with a single alternative closure type, when several alternatives to natural cork are now on the market, many of which don't present the extreme technical challenges that working with a very low oxygen transmission closure such as a tin-lined screwcap does.


At 12:45 PM, Blogger Edward said...


This might interest you on DIAM.


The post is on the issue of TCA tainted DIAM.

The only problems with screwcap are winemaker related. These can be overcome with experience.

Then again I am an Australian, and screwcap accounts for close to 75% of all new release whites and close to 40% of reds.

At 10:18 PM, Blogger Jamie said...

Edward, thanks for this - I thought Oeneo's Dean Bannister was very open and helpful in responding to the criticism. Murray was very ungracious.

No matter how often screwcap advocates repeat the line that all the problems with tin-lined caps are because of winemaking, it doesn't make it any truer - I'm not anti cap by any measure, but I am opposed to the sort of truth-blindness that occurs when anyone becomes a strong advocate for a particular type of closure. I'm really not interested in becoming a cheerleader for any closure type, but what I am interested in is helping winemakers see through all the various bits of information out there on closures so they can make the best decisions for their own wines.

At 3:25 PM, Anonymous Ian Sutton said...

I find your reference to Tyson as "... a patronising wanker" unnecessary. Tyson, like you has firm views on the subject and an enquiring scientific mind.

That your views differ from Tysons is perfectly ok. IMO you seem to have also become somewhat entrenched in your opinions over recent months. Not unusual in this area where sides appear to line up in clearly drawn battlelines.

However by attempting to rubbish a respected fellow wine author in this way, I think you are doing yourself a great dis-service.



At 5:03 PM, Blogger Jamie said...

Your point is taken, and thanks for feeling free to express it. I've met Tyson before and like him, but I was objecting to the contents of his speech. Look, I'm not telling winemakers which closure they should be using. Tyson is. If I were a winemaker sitting in the audience and I had this speech delivered to me, I'd be stunned, frankly. I think he's making a severe error of judgement in adopting a crisading stance. Now do you see me lining up on either side of the cork/screwcap debate? And where is the evidence that I've become entrenched in my opinions over recent months, other than the fact that I'm increasingly urging winemakers to look at independent data on closure performance before entrusting their precious wines to any one closure type? Yep, I'm wrong to have indirectly called Tyson what I did, but it was said out of frustration and amazement at the line he's taking with winemakers.

At 4:45 PM, Anonymous Ian Sutton said...

Thanks for the reply.
I guess I should clarify, that whilst I don't see you aligned to one closure, I can't recall the last time you spoke positively about screwcaps.

For me all options still remain of interest (with the possible exception of plastic corks). If offered the choice I'd currently take screwcap over cork, but would be happy to spread my risk with other closures (diam etc).

For many of the newer closures, there is much still to be learnt and I do believe issues such as reduction can be, if not eliminated, at least reduced to the level at which they are only perceptible to the taster who's looking for them. Independant data is indeed important and it's frustrating how little of it is in the public arena. It's important also to judge whether failures are critical ones and in addition whether they are implicit in the seal or can be resolved through different methods.

If I'm agreeing with you, it's that we need to fight to retain an open mind (when so many in this debate have already become entrenched). I personally need to work on having an open mind to a reformed cork industry!




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