Thursday, August 13, 2009

Screw Cap Update

Back in early 2008, I wrote about the popularity of the screw cap in the Australian wine industry and the storage/maturation trials that were in progress using this closure particularly in the high end red wine market.
Today I read that Henschke Wines conducted a trial on their top end 'Hill of Grace' wine in 2002. Positive results have convinced the company to put 100% of the 2005 vintage of this wine under screw cap.
Current vintage 'Hill of Grace' sells for around $A560 a bottle.
Management said that 95% of customer complaints were cork related and the decision to make the move would end this situation.
They said " Classic cork is history. There is no place for it in the wine industry due to its inconsistency and unreliability. The screw cap will be the way of the wine closure until better ones are developed. We will be using them on all our top-end wines"
The trials revealed that the aroma, flavour, balance and structure were significantly better under screw cap compared to cork.

In another development, Australian bottle manufacturers have started to discontinue production of many lines of bottles with a cork mouth finish due to a lack of demand. This is forcing some wineries who are persisting with cork to look overseas for supplies. However the cork industry is trying to fight back. A major Portuguese manufacturer has released a certified organic cork which is produced in a process of washing and disinfection that is 100% chemical free and is claimed to give TCA levels (the corking "culprit") which are below 1Ng/l. Too late, I fear.

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