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Wined Down with Joe Roberts: Top 5 Wine Lies (And How to Beat Them)
  • August 09, 2012 : 16:08
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Lie #4: Screw Caps Are for Cheap-Ass Wine

For some reason, this lie simply refuses to die, like the perpetual rumor that there will be another Duke Nukem video game sequel. There’s no doubting that cork still has the panache, but screw caps have come a long way since the bulk wine days. Screw cap closures are here to stay, and they are not a signal that the wine is plonk. Need proof? One of the world’s most sought after — and expensive — wines, Henschke’s Hill of Grace, is topped off with a screw cap.

“Not that I’m anti-cork; I just think there are so many terrific wines under screw cap, and the technology is so improved, you’re only going to see more wines using it,” notes Sbrocco. “As one winemaker said to me about screw caps, ‘it’s wine as I intended it to taste.’ Don’t worry about the container, worry about the juice inside.”

If your girl gives you the evil eye over your choice of screw-capped libation, you can counter her concerns with the story of how Sbrocco stymied TV star Al Roker when he questioned one of her romantic wine choices that involved the Stelvin:

“A couple of years ago I was doing an aphrodisiac food and wine segment on The Today Show, and when I get to oysters I had a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. When I cracked the screw cap on it, Al Roker asked me, ‘But Leslie, what if your lover thinks it’s cheap?’ So I told him ‘Al, tell your lover it’s hip to be screwed!’ They told me I was the only person to ever leave Al Roker speechless…” 

Lie #5: Wine Critics Offer the Best Wine Picks

Finally, the greatest irony in the wine world is the idea that wine critics will help you pick out the best stuff. It’s ironic because it’s true, but only after you actually know what wines you already like.

Why? Because critics have their personal preferences just like anybody else, and wine tasting is never totally objective. So it doesn’t matter if I call a wine “sexy” and give it an A rating, or the bottle sports a shiny gold medal around its neck on the store shelf, or even if a big glossy wine mag bestows a recent release with 99 out of 100 points — none of those recommendations mean a hill of beans if you don’t already have a good idea what you like and what you don’t. Otherwise, you might be spending a good chunk of change on a wine that you and your date think tastes like a fig-and-prune reduction sauce simmered over a tire fire. 

So how do you know who to trust? First, trust yourself — get to know what you like, and then follow the critics whose taste preferences most closely match your own (that is, if they give high ratings to those or similar wines). The critics who pass that muster will then be guides to clue you in to more wines that you and your best girl will actually enjoy drinking (instead of feeling like your palate got prison-raped at the store counter, only with less dignity).

About the Author:

Joe Roberts is a certified wine geek, and has been called "an original" by media maven Gary Vaynerchuk, "provocative" by the Seattle Times, and "a Robin Hood in the exclusive world of vineyards and corkings" by The Urban Grocer. His wine knowledge has been tapped by the L.A. Times, New York Times,, Mutineer Magazine, Publix, Palate Press,, and You can find Joe regularly roasting wine's sacred cow (and pairing them with robust, obscure red) at the award-winning

To read all Wined Down with Joe Roberts articles, click HERE.

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