The Virtual Corkscrew Museum's Daily Newspaper
Thursday, June 26, 2003
A special report from Alf Erickson in Fort Lauderdale, Florida:
Challenged by "successes" that have been claimed elsewhere (vineyard lore, testimonials, rumors, etc.), this afternoon I purchased a $7.99 bottle of Pinot Grigio (2002 Cavit Collection) from my local 7/11.
Fitted with a conventional cork (tree grown...but, probably a composite...as are almost all corks), and a plastic 'foil' neck wrap (not a slug of injected plastic, topping-off the cork)...this seemed to me to be the ideal bottle that a screwless person would wind up with at a picnic site. I chose a palm tree in my backyard as the 'banging' instrument.
After removing the 'foil' (with an easy twist...as there was no age-bonding to the bottle) I examined the top of the cork: it was recessed just below the 'conventional' lip of the bottle. It had no mold-crust which might interfere with the experiment. [see photo 1 below] On the first 'go' of my experiment the base of the bottle was struck 100 times against the tree. The cork showed no inclination to disgorge. [see photo 2 below] The second 'go' whacked the bottle 200 times. Again, no budge. [see photo 3 below]
500 more beatings and the cork was still unyielding. [see photo 4] After 750 additional 'beatings' the cork just 'laughed'. [see photo 5] At this point I looked at the damage to my tree. [see photo 6]
"Maybe like a virgin, who needs a helping hand", I gently eased the cork an eighth of an inch with a corkscrew. [see photo 7 & 8] 200 more whacks...and nothing. Except a bottle filled with fizzy unhappy bubbles. [see photo9]
] I ask others to repeat this experiment....either we'll put a vineyard lore to death or we'll find an alternative to the corkscrew (for the screwless).
Alf Erickson, Thirsty in Florida, June 25, 2003
A reminiscence from Alf Erickson in Fort Lauderdale, Florida:
Yes, there comes to my mind another way to 'remove' the cork without having to sieve the contents through an old shirt after smashing the glass with a rock. Half a dozen years ago ... back when my good friend, Jon Titley, was still fielding a pretty formidable elephant polo team at Tiger Tops ...Jon pulled off a marvelous bottle decapitation.
We'd all been drinking pretty heavily. Champagne was our beverage of choice ... Jon was carrying one of his Gurkha knives, as he usually did when drunk or sober ... it was late ... empties were lying on the floor ... a couple bottles were still on ice ... but, one of the corks on one of the last of Madame Bollinger's finest was being stiff ... Jon would have none of it ... one whack with his knife and the whole darn cork, with its intact glass collar, went flying into my lap. I still have it:
©2003 Don Bull, Editor