Sunday, December 19, 2004

The Tragedy of Sommelier Network Effects

Have Paul David and Brian Arthur finally an example of path dependence:

Mark me down as not being enthusiastic about the screw top.

Premature choice of an inferior technology a couple of thousand years ago? Or, something else?

The whole reason cork is used is to prevent oxygen from getting to, and spoiling, the wine. Cork was known back in Greece and Rome to have this great property and for having that great 'sealing property'. In medieval times they tried to use wood in their sacks and pottery urns. When they developed glass bottles in the 17th century, wood did not work any more as a stopper. Cork was rediscovered and used ever since.

...."Real" cork can sometimes develop a mold, and lead to 'corking' of the wine. This sad state makes the wine completely undrinkable. To combat this, a number of wineries are turning to synthetic corks that have the wonderful sealing properties of real cork, but do not harbor molds.

Viva la France

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