When gun crime, or knife crime more recently apt, gets out of hand, the media and police often concentrate on creating "amnesties" where repentant gun & knife owners can hand over their abominable weapons with no questions asked. Better to get them off the street they say.
I've never been totally convinced about this, but anyway it looks good on television and sometimes gets unexpected results (one less rocket launcher on the streets of Devon!) such as this.
So I was intrigued by a neck tag on a bottle of wine promising a "cork amnesty". As a proud owner of quite a few corks, mainly because I collect them for a mysterious project my sister is working on, I wondered if I might have to visit a local police station to assuage my conscience. Alas, the truth was more prosaic.
[I bought the RH Phillips 2003 Zinfandel, but I believe there are/were other wines out there too]
RH Phillips, a Californian producer from Esparto, CA, USA (erm, time for the Wine Atlas I think), HAD created a site at www.corkamnesty.com that gave ideas of all the many things one could do with corks EXCEPT put them in the neck of a bottle of wine. This is a slightly aggressive form of evangelism for screwcaps, and it certainly got my attention.
Their neck tag as well as their back label are all about how cork is associated with TCA (cork taint, musty cardboard and walnut smells in wine) and should therefore be avoided.
Now, there is a big debate about corks, screwcaps, TCA, reductive wines, etc. that I will probably have to write about at some stage, but is probably FAR too dull for most people out there. I applaud RH Phillips for making a virtue of their packaging, but like with my politics, I prefer a positive message rather than a negative one. I happen to think that cork has a very important role to play, but screwcaps do too, and any radical position is unnecessary.
Unfortunately I delayed writing this post for some weeks and in that time, RH Phillips' new owners (Constellation having acquired Vincor International) have closed down the site and redirected it to their corporate page.
Not only is this dull, it is silly as they lose any valuable traffic them might have got. It also means I cannot post any clever suggestions they may have had.
I'd like to think that unlike automatic weapons and Rambo-style hunting knives, there is no need to be concerned about corks. In the right hands they do serve a purpose and can benefit humanity. However, if you feel at all ashamed of your collection and you have not yet created your own cork trivet, notice board or wreath, then maybe you could decide to turn them in to the authorities and hope they ask no questions about how long it took you to accumulate such a collection.