While reading an article on Decanter, I learned that I could become a “certified” cork expert if I visited RealcorkUSA.com. This announcement begged the question “Is this for real?” But sure enough, I went to their URL and learned that if I pass an incredibly long and biased list of questions, I am entitled to valuable information on cork to share with my friends and family. See the following clip from their site:
Becoming knowledgeable on cork is incredibly important. In learning and understanding the unique and complex characteristics of this natural product you will also consequently increase your perspective and knowledge on wine. After reading through the information available on this website please complete the Cork Certification Course. If you can answer 80% of the questions correctly, you will be a certified cork expert. The questionnaire was designed and approved by APCOR – Portuguese Cork Association – leading the world on cork closure issues. In addition, you’ll be entitled to receiving valuable material on cork to share with your friends, clients, colleagues, students, teachers and family. So please enter your mailing address after completing the questionnaire. Wishing you a corking success!
Now if I were a cynical person, oh wait I am, I would say that this smells of propaganda. “Hey everyone, come get certified so that you can spread the word on how great we are!” As I’ve said many times before these cork advocates need to understand that their produst is not the only option in the world of wine closures and by promoting a variety of closures, the rate of TCA “tainted” wines would drop significantly. Allow me to say this one more time: CORK IS ONLY ONE OPTION AND NOT ALWAYS THE BEST OPTION!
What happens if I become “certified” by the largest cork producer? Can I use this distinct accreditation on my resume? Does it come with a salary? Do I make a commission anytime someone I know buys a wine with a cork closure? It would seem to me that the answers to these questions are way too important to gloss over in the effort to receive a pamphlet for your friends and a meaningless accreditation.
We have obviously beaten this horse to death on our site, but please remember that if the wine is young and you plan on drinking it in the next few hours, look for a screw cap. On the other hand, if you plan on buying the wine to lay down for the next ten years, look for cork. And if you want to help the cork forests and create other markets for this renewable resource, lay down some cork flooring and call it a day!