Have stelvin closures (finally) hit the mainstream?

Yesterday we did a wonderful tasting of spring and summer selections. Chris Griese and I attacked the bottles to open them for the event and we realized something astounding: 15 of the 21 whites were finished with the Stelvin closure. There was a dramatic pause while we thought the same thing: what a wonderful moment!

In three minutes flat we had 21 wines open and ready to go. Two were corked. Think about that … of six cork finished whites being presented, a third were unservable!

It’s pretty obvious that screw top closures have hit the mainstream. In fact, there are some restaurants in New York and San Francisco buying only stelvin closed wines. They cite speed of service (these are hot wine bars), no need for an opener for the server, and more consistent quality.  Hmmmmm…

Here’s a radical thought for restaurants … Maybe it’s time that the well trained server checked the bottle tableside rather than pouring the ‘test pour’ for the customer. Would that show added service (and thus value)? Or does that border on pretentiousness? Do you actually trust your customers to know what an off bottle smells like? Do you trust your servers?

In some cultures (like we have in Minnesota) the ‘polite’ factor comes forth and even it smells off the customer may not say anything. But how do they feel about their experience a week later?

No matter what, good training of the servers pays off in the long run, and good training includes how to talk to the customer about the inherent advantages of a stelvin closure.


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