Adam Piggott

Gentleman adventurer

5th trait: The modern man never orders a bottle of wine that can be opened without a corkscrew.


The 5th trait of the modern man on our list of 28:

The modern man never orders a bottle of wine that can be opened without a corkscrew.

Old world wine producers overwhelmingly use cork while new world producers predominately use screw-caps. You can argue as much as you like about which is better for storing wine but the difference in attitude towards which option to use comes down to one thing:


The modern man has few opportunities remaining to use ceremony in his life. Ceremony is tradition, the doing of something in a time honored way, using methods and instruments no different than our fellow men have used for sometimes hundreds of years. It is not a rallying cry against progress. It is the simple joy and satisfaction of learning to do something and then doing it well.

A man who has never smoked a cigar when given one won’t know what to do. Knowing which end to smoke it from is only the first obstacle. He must be shown, he must try for himself, he must learn. After a while he might want to purchase a cigar cutter, a good humidor, a smart ashtray. The instruments we use to do these activities are a key part of the ceremonial process. Today, the act of fly fishing simply makes no sense at all, which is precisely why so many people do it.

If you are handed a bottle of wine with a screw-cap, you simply twist the top off and pour. You may as well have opened a bottle of coke. With a bottle sealed with a cork you must inspect the cap to see how you will remove it. Then take a look at the exposed top of the cork to see if there is any discoloration. Place the tip of the corkscrew in the center of the cork, and screw down firmly until half a twist is still visible. Firmly extract the cork and inspect it for unpleasant odors or any sign that the cork is bad. Clean the lip of the bottle if necessary. Present the cork. Pour the wine.

In this act there is the anticipation of the wine that is about to be drunk. We are taking part in something, even if it only lasts a few seconds. We have performed a small ceremony. There is no need to make a big deal of it, the objective is not to show off or demonstrate our prowess. The objective is to use small skills to take part in something. How unsatisfactory to be dining in a fine restaurant only to have the waiter present you with a bottle of wine and twist off the top. The wine is poured, you both have the alcohol to drink, but something has been lost. It is not the same experience.

Life is about experience.

Drinking a fine whiskey, shaving, preparing food, smoking a cigar, making a cocktail, listening to music, playing poker, making a coffee, the list goes on. All of these things can be done with ceremony if one values it as such.

It is no surprise that the old world favors cork because the old world has a much firmer grasp of tradition. The old world values its past and seeks to retain a connection with it. The modern man is aware of this. He takes pride in understanding ceremony and enjoys discovering instruments which he can purchase to make each ceremonial moment more enjoyable. More memorable. Many of these acts are the stepping stones from which a boy becomes a man.

The modern man never orders a bottle of wine that can be opened without a corkscrew.


4th Trait – The modern man works out.


It’s the old Friday Links.


  1. Although I don’t disagree with your rationale behind this trait, from the perspective of good wines this one may be changing. I spoke to the owner of a prestigious vineyard not too long ago and he told me that the main argument against twist caps on wine at this point was tradition. They are cheaper, more hygienic, longer lasting, reusable, and easier for the customer. Even as we speak more and more wineries are starting to make the switch, including some high end wines. I routinely drink Ferrari Carano Fume Blanc which comes with a $20 retail pricing and a twist off cap. It is not overpriced, being one of the best white wines I’ve had. Their merlot, interestingly enough, still comes with a cork.

    Oh, and I recommend a prong style cork puller rather than a corkscrew. Corkscrew tears of the cork, potentially resulting in bits of cork in your date’s wine glass whereas a puller slides the intact cork right out of the bottle.

    • Adam

      I spoke to the owner of a prestigious vineyard

      You spoke to the owner of a new world vineyard. The vast majority of wineries in Australia use screw-caps. Italian wineries that I have had business dealings with routinely export their wines with screw-caps, but sell the same wine in Europe with a cork. Like I said, old world producers value the cork as it is indeed tradition.

      Prong style pullers are great but I prefer the corkscrew. I worked as a wine waiter many years ago so I’d be disappointed in myself if I got any cork bits on madam.

  2. Most California wineries use cork. All the small ones I have visited use cork. We apparently import the cork from Portugal as the last Port of Oakland strike had wine corks waiting on ships. Australian wines for sale here have been corked as far as I can tell. My Dad won’t buy a wine that doesn’t have cork.

  3. hErn

    – the modern man should use a better corkscrew than the one pictured above
    – the modern man should learn about wine before writing such articles

    “Like I said, old world producers value the cork as it is indeed tradition.”
    Simply not true.

  4. dearieme

    Absurd! You’d have me eschew Champagne, Madeira and sherry. And some very decent bottles from NZ.

  5. “The old world values its past and seeks to retain a connection with it.”

    Alas, if only it were true. The old world, at the very least in Western and Northern Europe, is only too keen to forget and lose all of its past.

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