Screwcaps vs Corks – the Jury is out

W1_cap_pic1More and more wine producers are starting to bottle their quality wine in screw-cap bottles, as opposed to using traditional cork. For a long time I have resisted using screwcaps, citing two reasons for this.

The first is tradition – it’s all part of the tradition – cutting the capsule, inserting the corkscrew, pulling the cork and hearing the satisfactory pop as the cork slides out of the bottle.

The second is that I because a screwcap seals the bottle of wine very well, it affects the ability of the wine to age, resulting in some premium reds that are meant to age – not aging very much. However some farms report that “Comparing our wines aged under screw caps with the same wine aged under corks there is a difference, but we are very happy to note that wine aged under screw caps is much more consistent.” However, there is a “lack of proper scientific data on how fine wines mature under screwcaps over long periods”.

The jury still seems to be out on this one.

It seems to be that a lot of “easy drinking” wines that are bottled with screw caps, with premium reds predominantly bottled with corks. However some farms are bottling their premium wines in screwcaps, especially in Australia and New Zealand.

However, according to Good Taste, between 3% and 15% of all bottled wine has some degree of TCA, or cork taint, and Winepro mention that this results in approx $10-billion damage to the worldwide wine industry!

Corkscrew20and20bottle203According to the BBC, “more than half of wine bottles sold in the UK each year now come with a screw cap. Many producers have switched in the past decade because of concerns about the reliability, and relative inconvenience, of cork.”

While the debate between bottled and screwcap wines is clearly still open, I confess that I have become reluctant convert to screwcap wine, and I realized this the other day, when I was selecting a bottle in my bar fridge to open.

My selection was not based on the cultivar, or the producer, but rather on weather it had a screwcap. Yes, I was looking for a screwcap wine because it is so much easier to open, and you can just screw the cap back on and pop the bottle into the fridge when you have had enough.

And of course, you never have the frustration of going to a picnic, having a really nice bottle of wine, and wondering who packed the corkscrew!

Screwcap vs corks – watch this space!

What is your preference?

Screwcap image from http://www.winebusiness.com

Corkscrew image from http://www.fieldandvine.co.uk

3 Responses to Screwcaps vs Corks – the Jury is out

  • Screwcaps just make such good sense for anything you’re going to drink within a year or so. Approximetely 90% of wine sold is drunk within 7 days of purchase, so there’s no real need to worry about reduction except in very fine wines.

  • I thought it was within 24 hours. But I quite agree – screw cap for everyday wine – and let’s watch the jury for the good stuff!

  • We just paid a visit to Neil Ellis’ wine farm a week or two ago and he is also has a screw cap on his entry level wines. Of course, what is entry level for Neil Ells is connoisseur for the average wine so I would say that is definitely taking a bold position on the whole thing. Not that I need to say this, but all his wines were divine, of course.

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