The Zork Cork is the latest way to cap off a bottle of wine.

The Zork Cork is the latest way to cap off a bottle of wine.

A New Twist on Closure: We discovered a bottle of delightful Sauvignon Blanc 2010 from a Sonoma estate named for an old adobe, Leese-Fitch. We found the wine itself light, crisp, lemon grassy and utterly easy to drink. The $10 price tag didn’t hurt, either. But what was most intriguing about this bottle of wine was its closure. Not a cork, nor the infamous Stelvin screw cap. It was something much, much different. There was a hard plastic seal that spiraled around the top of the bottle. I pried open the end of the spiral and began unwinding it, thinking it would expose a cork. But no, what it exposed was a plastic plug that I pulled out easily. Incredibly simple! Just unwind—or unpeel, if you will—the outer closure, then pull out the plug. No corkscrew required. The wine needed no extra breathing time to be open and accessible.

Turns out this baby is called a Zork Cork, sort of a combination of screw cap and cork. It was invented in Australia, and is one of the new methods being explored by vintners anxious for viable alternatives to the endangered and issue-plagued cork. As cork wine closures dry, they can shrink to the point where too much air is admitted into the liquid and the wine is ruined, or “corked.” And let’s face it, some wine snobs avoid the Stelvin closure because they can’t bear the connotations of a screw-top bottle of alcohol. Whatever. Well, this Zork Cork thingie is very cool. Let’s see if others adopt what is apparently the hot new thing in antipodean winemaking.


Bold As Brassica: If you haven’t yet pampered yourself with an outdoor dinner spread on a long table overlooking bio-dynamically farmed raised beds—and the Monterey Bay beyond—then you are in for a treat. Love Apple Farm is not only the exclusive “kitchen garden” for Manresa, it is also a stunning laboratory for a huge array of workshops, demonstrations and dinners devoted to the freshest and most flavorful seasonal produce.

“Celebrate Brassica” kicks off the new Love Apple Farm Dinner Series on March 2, where from 2-6pm ($125 per person includes wine, tax and gratuity) you’ll celebrate the versatile members of the Brassica family. Brassica is a genus of the Cruciferae family that includes cabbage, turnips, Brussels sprouts and mustard. Now you know. Created by Chef Breanna Greene, the dinner begins with a cauliflower soup and garlic parsley pesto, followed by a first course of broccoli, potato, beet and carrot salad with soft cooked egg and arugula. Next Brussels sprouts with butternet squash, dried cranberries and Tuscan kale. The third entree will feature braised ox tail with polenta, mustard greens and triple crème cheese. Dessert of rhubarb cobbler should add the exact piquant note to this highly intriguing menu. Make reservations fast.