Island Life Magazine Ltd February/March 2007 - Page 73

FOOD & DRINK - life Are corks finally SCREWED? By Tim Flint Eurovines To cork or to cap? It’s a big question for wine producers, wine merchants and wine consumers, being discussed from the cellars of Bordeaux, to the slopes of sunny California and over to the relative upstarts in New Zealand’s blossoming wine industry. The reason for this shift from cork to screwcap is that an increasing amount of wine is being contaminated by cork taint, leaving the wine tasting musty and dull. This problem is thought to be on the up because good quality cork is becoming increasingly hard to find. The other alternative is the plastic ‘cork’, which is already in widespread use - but some wine tasters complain of ‘plastic taint’, and many consumers find them difficult to remove. Screwcaps are only for cheap wines aren’t they? Certainly not ! All wines from New Zealand, who are regarded as one of the world’s top wine-producing countries, have been using screwcap since 2003. The top wines of Australia and California are also using screwcaps – why? This is because they seal the wine properly, whilst allowing the wine to age without any risks of contamination. In short, you get to taste the wine as the wine maker intended it to taste. The use of this type of closure has been on the up over the last five years, and will continue to increase. Its sales have doubled in the past two years, not only in New Zealand and Australia, but also in the French wine growing areas of Bordeaux, Alsace and Burgundy. This is a trend that is only going forward as more and more regions convert to what the screwcap has to offer. As a wine merchant, I view the screwcap as a positive move, and I am pleased that we will be seeing less and less corked bottles the more this type of seal is used. In the end, does it really matter how the wine is closed, as long as the wine is in good condition when you open it? Hopefully, I have already answered that. Sponsored by - 73