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Screw Cap Wine: 3 Reasons Why Winemakers Are Switching from Corks

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3 Reasons Why Artisan Wineries Are Making the Switch to Twist Off Wine Closures

  1. Metal wine screw caps solve the “corked bottle” syndrome that ruins thousands of bottlings each year.  A batch of bad corks can have an especially severe financial impact on wineries that only produce 10,000 cases or less per year.
  2. They are easier to open and close and make enjoying the wine more convenient.
  3. They are less expensive for wineries and, ultimately, you.

90% of New Zealand wineries and 70% of Australian wineries are now bottling using twist off caps, or “twisties.”  In fact, many of the new world wines we feature in our wine club come with these closures.

What the Experts Are Saying About Screw Cap Wine

“Anyone who knew about California wine in the mid-1970s knew that the state made exceptional wines.  What it lacked was respect. The same is true for twisties today….Vintners need to stand together in their support of twisties as the best available option for ensuring the quality and consistency of their wines.”
–James Laube, Wine Spectator, June 30, 2015

“To hold a bottle five to 10 years, it looks like the screw cap is the way to go.”
–Dale Goode, Murphy-Goode Winery, Sonoma County

“A 10-year study done by the Australian Wine Research Institute indicated that wine retaining the most freshness over time had screw cap closures.”
–Wine Spectator, May 31, 2010

Here at the wine club we admit it, there is a certain charm to the ceremony of opening a bottle of wine using a cork screw (we made 7 videos about how-to use corkscrews), but we love the convenience and reliability of twist offs (especially for summer picnics).  When it comes to wine, we are all about “inner beauty”:  It’s what’s inside the bottle that counts. Bottom line, don’t judge a bottle by its cap or lack thereof.

33 Responses

  1. Phil S says:

    Screw caps have almost completely taken over in Australia, for both reds and whites.

  2. As an Australian wine maker, it’s hard to even consider cork out side of sparkling wine. It been proven by our wine research institute that ‘stelvins’ (screw caps) maintain a higher level of freshness and slow the aging of the wine down. This allows for consumers to enjoy the wine is a larger window when it’s at its peak. There is also considerably less risk of tainted wine. We have also found just through conversation in the cellar door that people prefer the convenience of a screw cap. You can take the bottle to a picnic and not require a cork screw and you can simply and easily cover the wine once open.

  3. Malcolm Reeves says:

    Just as we changed from the traditional horse and carriage when technology gave us the car, we changed from corks when technology provided us with the screwcap. I have seen maybe one leaker in thousands of screwcap closed bottles but many in the cork closed bottles from all countries in my cellar. I took s ix bottles of quality wine with me to a dinner a few months back, – four cork closed and 2 screwcap. Three of the four cork closed were undrinakble due to TCA and of course none of the screwcap closed bottles! Quality, relaibility, shelf-life, ease of opening for I take my hand everywhere with me, and it is easy to use even on old bottles. No broken corks, no wine filters required. I can even put the cap back on if the bottle is not empty. Such convenience. And by the way it is cheaper so my money goes into the wine, not into the closure. Screwcaps are available with specified, controlled oxygen transfer properties too – corks can’t. Need I say more?

  4. Bill Hurt says:

    The first time I ran into a twist off was 10 yrs ago in Scotland and the proprietor of the wine store suggested a wine with a screw top, which he referred to in his fine Scottish accent as a “screwie”. I’ve had fun relating this over the years, and have no bias these days, but I do like the term “screwie” over “twistie”.

  5. MICHAEL FAHEY says:

    I like the tradition of cork but I am sure the convenience of the cap will eventually replace the cork.

  6. Chris Morris says:

    Screw caps are great if the wine is not going to age. Whites, pinots and other reds that do not age are fine for screwies. For Cabs, Sharaz and quality blends, corks allow the wine to age better. If you are having trouble with tainted corked wines I would suggest you clean your wine storage area!

    • Karen D says:

      Thanks, Chris! If you plan to age a great red for more than 10 years, natural corks may well be your best bet. We do recommend using an Ah So style (two pronged) wine opener with well aged wines, as the cork my be fragile. Cheers, Karen

  7. Barry says:

    Not a fan of screw caps at. I like the tradition of the cork, and as stated above, it’s better for aging wine. Hope you stay with cork.

    • Karen D says:

      Thanks, Barry! The act of uncorking a bottle is a certainly a fun tradition. We select handcrafted wines from small, artisan wineries based on color, aroma and, primarily, taste, so we do feature wines with all types of closures. Our goal is to share delicious, small-batch wines with our members, and we stand behind every selection with our Love It guarantee. Cheers, Karen

  8. Kathy R says:

    While screw caps are more convenient and definitely have their benefits, there is just something special about uncorking a good bottle of wine that enhances the wine experience . I’ll miss uncorking the wine… but I’ll get over it.

    • Karen D says:

      Thanks, Kathy! The ceremony of opening a bottle with a corkscrew and hearing the “pop” is one we enjoy, too. But a lot of passionate wineries handcrafting in small-batches are switching to screw caps for at least some of their bottlings, and the wines so good we simply can’t pass them up. Cheers! Karen

  9. Evans Harrell says:

    Our family has encountered far too many too difficult to pull corks lately. We’ll take the screwies any day.

  10. Ralph Short says:

    Have experienced both but have never seen a difference in taste. Definitely, the screw cap is easier and I prefer it. Would also point out that sometimes the aluminum wrap around and over the cork further delays the opening and opens up the possibility of metal dropping into the bottle.

    • Karen D says:

      Thanks, Ralph! While I like the romance of the cork, I love the convenience of a screw cap. And it is what’s inside the bottle that matters most. By the way, the wrap-around cover on the top of bottles with corks is called the “capsule.” I find that sometimes I can just pull them right off the bottle. But when they are tight, it is recommended to cut them off by running a knife around the lip of the bottle before going after the cork, especially if they are tin or aluminum. Some corkscrews have a little knife just for this purpose. With plastic or PVC, I usually just go right through them. Get more information about capsules here. Cheers!

  11. Shea says:

    Well, a screw cap either ruined my nice Australian wine or the vintner has gone to the dogs. Good god, if I wanted to encounter a screw top, I’d bought Bali Hai. (Okay, l would never buy Bali Hai.) Right out of the bottle it was rot gut – my old reliable brand that has rarely ever failed me. I’ll be looking for corks now, if I can find one reasonably priced. If not, then I’m sure some distilled spirits will fill the void – screw tops on those I do not mind, haha.

    • Karen D says:

      Oh no! We are so sorry you got a bottle of wine you didn’t enjoy! How disappointing. If it was one that we sent you, please give us a call or send an email and take advantage of our Love It Guarantee. We will happily replace it with something you will enjoy.

      Wine in the bottle is a living thing, and there are many things that can damage it (heat, light, motion, to name a few). So it may be that you just got a bottle that had unexpectedly “turned,” and not that the producer’s quality has changed. We do feature Australian wines in our International Series wine club level, and we have a couple of lovely Australian wines available in our wine store at the moment if you looking to discover new favorites: https://www.cawineclub.com/Australia-and-New-Zealand_CAR87.html

      Our team of Personal Wine Consultants are available M-F to help you find wines you will love. Please give us a call at 1-800-777-4443. We are here from 8AM to 5PM PST, and we’d be happy help!

      Cheers!

      • Shea says:

        Karen, thanks for the reply. it was NOT anything I bought from this site. It was a reliable Australian brand I’d bought off the shelf. I realized what it tasted like after I posted: Metal. I had laid the bottle on its side, not realizing it was a screw cap. When I poured a glass a day later, it was horrible – and I realize now the taste was metal. It dissipated somewhat as I went through the bottle, but really I despise this trend with screw caps. THERE IS A DIFFERENCE. I think vintners did better with the fake cork caps.

        • Karen D says:

          Thanks for letting us know that you figured it out, Shea! That is really interesting–We haven’t heard of the twist off caps imparting any taste before. I hope you find a bottle of great wine to enjoy. Let us know if we can answer any questions for you or help you find a bottle that you’ll love. Cheers!

  12. Maryjo says:

    Sorry but I won’t be drinking any reds that aren’t corked …
    I love wine and the experience of opening a nice Pinot Noir at dinner in front of a roaring fire with my honey, is divine …
    Quit messing with the cork please !

    • Karen D says:

      Thanks for weighing in, Maryjo! We agree that the ceremony of pulling a cork can be a lovely part of the wine experience. Cheers to you!

  13. Bernard Fineman says:

    When CA Wine advertises a wine it should state whether it has a twist or top!!

    • Karen D says:

      Hi Mr. Fineman,

      Thank you for taking the time to contribute to the screw cap conversation. We understand screw cap identification is important to some members and we are working on making this happen. In the meantime we can help you identify those screw caps and of course, will replace any wine you are not happy with. Thank you for your long-time membership and support!
      Cheers to you!

  14. Ed says:

    I’m still waiting for the screw cap that issues that satisfying “POP!” when opened.

  15. Ross says:

    I’d say the cork is going the way the DODO , or snail mail , or the newspaper .

  16. Keith says:

    Bought a vacuum pump stopper and preserver from BarCraft. The stoppers were floppy in the bottle head of the screw top bottles, glad I could screw the cap back on as arthritis makes it difficult to push a cork or composit back in. Be aware of the difference in the bottle neck size, if buying this product.

  17. Peter Sih says:

    I would pay a premium for wines with screw caps. It is more efficient and does not challenge my arthritic hands. (I’m pretty good at pushing the cork in since I never pack a corkscrew when traveling.) Unfortunately, the US is behind Australia and New Zealand in adopting screw caps.

    • Karen D says:

      We also appreciate the convenience of screwcap, Peter! We are seeing more use of screw caps by artisan winemakers in the US, so hopefully you will be able to find some great bottlings. You can always call our team of Personal Wine Consultants at 800-777-4443, and they will be happy to let you know which wines we have in stock have screw caps. Cheers to you!

  18. Nancy Ely says:

    I would much rather have a screw cap over a bottle with an artificial cork.

  19. Teddy Yeary says:

    I enjoy the screw cap for the ease of opening and storage. Corked wines should always be stored on its side or the cork can dry out and break while opening. Screw caps can he stored standing up thus taking up less room.

    • Karen D says:

      We like the ease of screw caps as well, Teddy! They are very handy for picnics. And you are absolutely correct about how to store wines with corks and wines with screw caps. Cheers to you!

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