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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.

Dear Bob,

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.”

—Dr. Vinny

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