A friend and I have had enough of tyranny and greed. We are unamused by the gradual erosion of our culture and its entailing ceremonies by the vacuous merchants and pretenders to those that have gone before them. For that reason we have decided to make a stand. We have drawn a line in the sand. It is symbolic but we hope for it to only be the start of numerous future additions to the Honorable Society of the Cork, (do not attempt to abbreviate the long and glorious title of our society with a pandering acronym – we will have nothing of that modern blight on the English language.)

The Honorable Society of the Cork does entirely what its name implies – we are lovers of the cork, that beautiful crafted shred of bark that holds back the perils of oxidation from the beauty of the wine within. Extracting it is a ceremony. First, one requires a suitable corkscrew. These come in many forms and guises. It takes skill to use one effectively. A skill that sadly is being lost even in the better bars and restaurants in Australia. For we are inundated by the tyranny of the screw-top. Here comes the waiter now bearing your precious bottle of wine. He presents it for your inspection. Passing this test he proceeds to … unscrew the lid with an unsatisfying crack. You taste the wine and accept the circumstances. He pours and leaves. The screw-top is not left on your table on a little platter for your enjoyment. It goes in the bin. The wine should follow it.

We of the Honorable Society of the Cork are cognizant of ceremony and tradition. We refuse to bow down to the ravages of “progress” and “change”. The screw-top is a travesty foisted upon an unsuspecting public by inferior winemakers who for years purchased the cheapest cork possible and then complained at the results. A self-fulfilling prophecy. But if screw-tops are so good, why do the best Australian wines continue to be produced with cork? Why indeed.

If you wish to join our society the rules are simple. You may only drink wine that has come from a bottle with a cork. Living in Australia, (and not having a Grange Hermitage budget), this means we drink only wines from Italy, France and Spain. This is not a burden, I may assure you. Think of the pleasure when you are out to dinner with friends and they order a bottle of wine that lacks the necessary appendage. The waiter opens it like a bottle of coke, offers the wine, and you refuse. ‘Are you not drinking at the moment?’ your friends inquire. ‘No,’ you reply as you order your very own bottle. Splitting the bill will be so much fun. Such anticipation.

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