Why Corkscrews are Here to Stay!
Since the ancient Egyptians, wine has been stored in many vessels--animal skins, earthenware jars and wooden barrels. Many of these containers were plugged with wood or cork. Although these containers could easily be opened with a sharp blow, however once open, the wine would diminish in quality. During subsequent years, it was noted that, although barrels were great vehicles for transporting wine, wine that is corked not only lasts longer, but improves over time. People soon realized that a device was essential in order to remove the cork from the tight grip of the bottle.

The first corkscrew patent was issued in England to Reverend Samuel Henshall in 1795. It was a simple, T-shaped piece of equipment with a steel worm protruding from the center of the handle made of either bone or wood. In 1802, a more complicated corkscrew was patented by British engineer, Edward Thomason. This was a bell-shaped cylinder that surrounded the worm; putting the bottom of the cylinder on the top of the wine bottle neck in a vertical position. This allowed the user to uncork the bottle without getting his or her fingers dirty.

A wide variety of corkscrews were produced in the 1800s, some with enhanced levers, gears, springs and secondary screws. In the 20th century, the corkscrew took on a new shape and design when Texas engineer, Herbert Allen invented the screwpull in 1978. By placing the screwpull on top of the bottle, the user simply pushes a lever down and then pulls it back up effortlessly to remove the cork. Today, your choice of corkscrews is as limitless as your choice of wines—making the corkscrew an integral part of wine culture.

But … What About The Screw Cap?
Due to problems with cork taint, there has been a push in the wine industry towards new ways of sealing bottles. The leading competition for cork is now the screw cap. Although screw caps are not a new invention, they have been commonly associated with cheap wines only. Yet, in recent years, they’ve been linked to more quality wines. The rise of screw caps has been more dramatic in Australia and New Zealand, ignited by an incredibly effective grassroots movement.

Where Do Screw Caps Leave The Corkscrew?
After three hundred years of corkscrew evolution, it’s clear that although the screw cap is here to stay, so is the cork, and likewise, the corkscrew. Why? There are a number of reasons why corks and corkscrews will be with us for some time to come.

Corks are Better for the Environment
Environmentalists believe we need to continue to say “yes” to the cork. “Popping a cork is more than just a perfect way to start an evening. Because cork is biodegradable, sustainably harvested and completely natural, it’s also a great choice for the environment. So when it comes to cork versus screw caps, cork is the natural environmental choice,” states the ‘Say Yes To Cork’ association.

 

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