Hello there! I'm Dr. Vinifera, but you can call me Vinny. Ask me your toughest wine questions, from the fine points of etiquette to the science of winemaking. And don't worry, I'm no wine snob—you can also ask me those "dumb questions" you're too embarrased to ask your wine geek friends! I hope you find my answers educational, empowering and even amusing. And don't forget to check out my most asked questions and my full archives for all my Q&A classics.
Dear Dr. Vinny,
I bought a bottle of Bedrock that arrived without a capsule over the cork. Is this a new trend?
—Bob, Chalfont, Pa.
It sure is! More winemakers are doing away with capsules, the plastic or foil sleeves on the top of wine bottles. Historically, capsules were intended to protect corks from nibbling rodents and other pests (they also contained lead). As long as you don't have rats in your cellar, they're purely decorative today (and lead-free).
I checked in with Morgan Twain-Peterson, the proprietor of Bedrock, to get his take. “My general thinking is that [capsules are] more an aesthetic decision than one that has an impact on wine aging or quality," he says. "I would much rather use the money saved on foil and invest it into a higher-quality cork—something that does have an impact on wine quality and aging.”