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Wine Capsules

July 25, 2010

Recently local DJ cum Blogger Ashallann found a ginormous wineglass.  I’m rather intrigued by the prospect of swirling a normal size pour of wine into such a monstrous chalice, but for now I have to be content watching her pour an entire bottle of wine into one glass, with plenty of room to spare.

Anyhow, this isn’t about that.  Watching the video, I saw something that got my attention.  And it involves the wine capsule.  That’s the fancy name for the piece of foil that is wrapped around the cork and neck of the bottle.

If you like to see it for yourself, the critical spot is 59 seconds into the clip.

I’m not entirely sure how Ashallann got the capsule to look like that, but it’s clear that she chose neither to cut it open nor to remove it entirely.  Someone once planted some crazy seed in my head about those foil capsules, and now besides simply cutting it off, there is a second step I do every time.

But first, how do you remove your capsule?

A long time ago when I worked in a restaurant, I went to a wine training.  It was a lot of fun, and it gave me a good early understanding of some of the basics.  One topic that was covered was the ceremonial opening of the wine bottle, which included removing the foil.

The instruction was to put the cutting blade of the waiter’s corkscrew underneath the lip of the neck.  You knew you had the right spot, if you could hold the bottle up in the air, with the blade on one side of the neck and your thumb on the other.  Hopefully that makes sense.

However, today’s newfangled wine openers like the idiot-proof rabbit come with foil removers that cut the capsule above the lip.


Frankly, I’m just as happy taking the point of the worm, and slicing the capsule from its base to the top and removing the damn thing in its entirety.

The extra step I take is wiping off the mouth of the bottle with a damp cloth.  I was once advised to do this because some of the capsules are made of leaded foil.  And a quick damp wipe would remove any unwanted residual lead.

By now you should all know how I feel about lead.

There are plenty of places to get extra lead in your diet.  I wish I were kidding.  You don’t need any more from the foil capsule on the wine bottle.  Wiping the mouth of the bottle with a damp cloth will cause other people to think you are a total lunatic, or obsessed with restaurant-style formal wine service.

I say let them.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Vince permalink
    July 25, 2010 11:17 am

    It looks like she just uncorked the bottle through the capsule without doing anything else to it. I had an ex that did it like that to visually similar results, it used to make me cringe.

  2. Vince permalink
    July 25, 2010 11:20 am

    I do what I thought was the typical foil removal from tip of the neck, if I have a wine key on hand I use the blade, but if those bunny ear pullers are all that’s around, I do a similar motion with the tip of the screw.

  3. July 25, 2010 3:42 pm

    With inexpensive wines, it is often possible to simply pull the whole capsule off without cutting it. Simply poking the corkscrew through the top and letting the cork push its way through as Ashallann presumably did works too. I usually cut around the top – in one of the ways you describe depending on the tool (knife or recessed cutter) that I have to hand.

    I understand that lead foil was banned in US domestic and imported wine in 1996 – so unless the bottle has been in your cellar a long time it should be safe from that.

  4. ashallann permalink
    July 26, 2010 10:30 pm

    Oops. That is a lazy habit I picked up a long time ago, it drives my partner crazy. I had used that bottle for the sole purpose of the video, but I’ll often retreat into that laziness if it’s just wine for one….no longer though! Thanks for the info!!

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