We have previously debated the merits of corks versus screw tops. I have maintained that the screw top is superior for sealing and that the only merit of the cork finish is image. Now comes a report that PlumpJack, a California winery, is releasing a limited bottling of a 1997 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, at $135 a bottle, with a screw cap top. The reason? They believe "screw tops are actually a superior device for a wine that will be at its peak after 2010." In that time, as many as 10 percent of corks will shrink or crack and if they aren't replaced, the wine will spoil. The metal screw top with a foam insert (so the wine doesn't actually contact the metal) will theoretically keep an airtight seal indefinitely.

What's next? Chateau Petrus in a box?

--Chuck Cowdery