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Rusden Wines abandons screwcap for cork

Published:  26 July, 2012

A leading Australian winery has returned to cork after five years of "persistent quality control issues" using screwcaps.

Barossa Valley winery Rusden Wines has announced it is giving up on screwcap closures and will now bottle its entire product range under cork.

The decision has been based purely on technical performance, according to Rusden winemaker Christian Canute, speaking to the Australia's Wine Business Magazine.

Canute said Rusden had experienced a range of problems with its wine under screwcap and after a five year trial of screwcap "it has become clear that cork is best for our wines".

"Our wines are handmade and bottled without fining or filtration. Under a screwcap I have noticed the wines 'sweat', producing overly dominant reductive characters, a problem we have never had under cork," he said.

Canute added that Australian sommeliers had confirmed the reductive, 'sweaty' characters he was experiencing in the winery with the wine under screwcap. Trade customers were also experiencing high incidence of bottle variation.

"From a technical point of view, from a sustainability point of view, from a consumer point of view and from an aspirational, premium factor point of view, cork is the best companion to wine," he said.

Last year iconic South African winery Klein Constantia returned to cork to seal its premier white wine, the Perdeblokke Sauvignon Blanc. The decision was driven by concerns over reductive characters under screwcap.

Napa Valley-based Rutherford Wine Company has also moved from synthetic closures back to cork citing both environmental and technical benefits, and in the UK, large retailers have switched products back to cork for environmental reasons.

"We believe wineries and major retailers are returning to cork because of consumer preference, vast improvements in the quality of cork, the emerging limitations of alternative closures and a growing awareness of cork's environmental advantages," said Amorim's director of marketing and communication Carlos de Jesus.