Wine Screw Cap Now for Premium Wines

premium wine screw capWhen wine is bottled ready for sale, the wine maker expects and hopes it will taste better when it is opened later for drinking.

He expects this because the wine bottle has a stopper or closure of some sort, and he hopes this stopper will keep out the oxygen which has the potential to spoil his nurtured wine.

Traditionally the wine closure used by everyone was made of cork and we can all relate to that lovely sound of a cork popping from a bottle.

However cork always had some issues relating to its ability to make an air tight seal, and when a wine cork is manufactured it requires a bleaching process for cleaning which also has the potential to taint the wine.

Against these negative aspects of the humble cork and an acceptance that around five percent of wine would always be spoiled, the wine cork survived longer than it should have until cost became a determining factor.

Bring On the Wine Screw Cap

The move to protect better wines with screw caps started about 12 years ago with a group of Australian winemakers who believed the inconsistency of cork was affecting the quality of their Clare Valley rieslings. A year or so later, in 2001, producers in Marlborough, New Zealand, created the “New Zealand Screwcap Wine Seal Initiative.” The group started a scientific study that went on to show that screw caps are superior to cork for sealing wine. Today, most wines from Australia and New Zealand, including some priced at more than $100, are bottled with screw tops.

Last year, the Hogue Cellars, a major Washington State winery, announced it was converting all of its wine, including its premium Genesis and Reserve labels, to screw caps. The decision was based on five years of research comparing Saranex-lined screw caps with other types of closures. Dow Chemical’s Saranex is a layered plastic film that contains Saran resin (think food wrap).

The study found that wines aged under Saranex-lined screw caps tasted better than those topped with aluminum or tin-lined screw caps or synthetic closures. This was Hogue’s second screw cap study. The findings of its first study, released in 2004, compared natural cork, synthetic closures and screw caps, and found that wines bottled under screw caps were cleanest and best retained fruit flavors. Read the full wine screw cap article here.

Increasingly now, wine makers are realizing the benefits to be had by sealing their wine with a screw cap and as the wine buyer becomes accustomed to the move away from the use of cork stoppers, the screw cap will continue its move to being the stopper of choice for premium wines.

Even the romantic sound of the cork popping will be maintained with a screw cap if the Zork sparkling wine stopper is anything to go by – have a look at the video below and hear the future for yourself.

What is your opinion of wine screw caps, and do you have any stories about the loss of the wine cork? Leave your comments below and enjoy your non-corked wine.

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