“Sod the wine, I want to suck on the writing. This man White is an instinctive writer, bloody rare to find one who actually pulls it off, as in still gets a meaning across with concision. Sharp arbitrage of speed and risk, closest thing I can think of to Cicero’s ‘motus continuum animi.’

Probably takes a drink or two to connect like that: he literally paints his senses on the page.”

DBC Pierre (Vernon God Little, Ludmila’s Broken English, Lights Out In Wonderland ... Winner: Booker prize; Whitbread prize; Bollinger Wodehouse Everyman prize; James Joyce Award from the Literary & Historical Society of University College Dublin)





11 November 2011


Aussie Technology Leads World Screw Caps Route Dirty Bark China & US Still Prefer Spoilage

DRINKSTER is delighted to publish the following press release from the South Australian wine industry publisher, WINETITLES.

The author first started his campaign against cork in 1980, and has consistently preached his screw cap gospel since. No other writer has maintained such a campaign, even going as far as to cease, for a time, recommending wines sealed with the dreaded bark from Portugal.


Cork is dirty. It's essential spongiform nature makes it an ideal five star hotel for germs. Chemicals used to purge the germs present their own range of contaminants to the wine.

2 Cork does not properly seal a wine.

3 Every wine with a cork in it will be affected by its cork - no two can be alike.

4 Even the
Portuguese sardine industry realised years back that you can't expect your customers to carry a special spanner around with them, just to get at the fish.


Australia’s love affair with the screwcap continues to blossom with a new industry survey revealing 93 per cent of Australian wineries use this type of wine closure.

The Australian & New Zealand Grapegrower & Winemaker inaugural Closure Report surveyed 266 wineries from across Australia on the type of wine closures they use on their bottled wine. It also asked wineries to rate the four main wine closures used in Australia on price, performance, cost and consumer acceptance.

Consumer acceptance and wine quality were key reasons the survey respondents chose screwcaps as their preferred type of closure.

Grapegrower & Winemaker publisher, Winetitles, general manager Elizabeth Bouzoudis said Australian winemakers were instrumental in developing the use of screwcaps on wine bottles and growing consumer acceptance worldwide.

“This survey offers the most current closure data in Australia, to date, and demonstrates that Australian wineries continue to drive acceptance of this type of closure around the globe,” Ms Bouzoudis said.

“In 2000, it was estimated that just 200,000 wine bottles in Australia were closed with screwcaps. By 2004, it had grown 1000-fold to 200 million.*

“Australia’s wine industry is unique in its acceptance of this type of wine closure. Only in New Zealand, do we see similar levels of screwcap use by wineries.

“In fact, in the United States and China we see the exact opposite, with consumers and the wine industry preferring natural and technical cork than any other type of closure.”

According to the survey, 74% of the wineries that use screwcaps bottle more than three-quarters of their production under this type of closure.

Just 25% of the survey respondents said they use natural cork to close their wine, with almost half using it for less than a quarter of their bottled wine.

Respondents were also surveyed on their use of technical cork and synthetic closures, which are the two other main types of closures used in Australia. The survey showed just 24% of respondents used technical cork and 8% used synthetic closures.

Interestingly, screwcap use on Australian bottled wine dropped significantly if the wine was being sold in an export market.

The largest segment of Australian wines still closed with natural cork is on wine sold for more than $21 in China and the United States.

“There’s no doubt Australian wineries love screwcaps but these figures do show that consumer preference for cork, particularly in China and United States, still forces Australian wineries to use this type of closure, despite their own preferences,” Ms Bouzoudis said.

“We plan to run this survey every year, as we’re interested to see if pressure to bottle under cork rises, especially as the China wine export market continues to open up to Australia wine.

“Or, will Australian wineries continue to drive acceptance of screwcap in these export markets, as it has done in UK and Europe.”

The survey was conducted online in November 2011, with results published in the Grapegrower & Winemaker November and December issues.

Closure Survey - key results

Survey Respondents

- 266 respondents participated in the survey

- 55% of the survey respondents said they crushed less than 100 tonne of grapes in 2010-11 harvest, which represents almost three-quarters of the total Australian wineries.

- 2.3% said they didn’t crush any grapes from the 2010-11 harvest.

Type of closure used – domestic market

- Overall 93% of the Australian wineries surveyed said they use screwcaps

- 74% of those who use screwcaps use this type of closure on 75%-100% of their bottled wine production

- 29% of respondents said they use natural cork

- 43% of those wineries who use natural cork only use it on less than 25% of their bottled wine production

- 24% of respondents said they use technical cork and just 8% use synthethic closure. The majority use it on less than 25% of their bottled wine production.

Type of closure used – export markets

- 59% of the 266 respondents said they bottled wine for an export market

- More respondents export wine to China (164), than to Europe (145), United Kingdom (148) and the United States (102)

- More respondents export premium red wine (above $21) to China than to the UK, US and Europe

- Respondents said 88% of the bottled wine destined for an export market is closed with screwcap 31% of exported bottled wine is closed with natural cork, 17% is closed with technical cork, and less than 1% used synthetic closures

- The smallest amount of exported Australian bottled wine with a screwcap went to China, followed by the US.

Type of closure used – winery perceptions

- ‘Consumer consideration’, and ‘wine quality’ were selected as the respondents’ chief reasons for choosing a type of closure

- The majority of respondents rated screwcap as having better performance overall and on the bottling line, has a better price, is easier to remove and has excellent levels of consumer acceptance

- Most respondents believed cork had better environmental credentials than all other types of closure.

* Closure data based on information presented at the 1st International Screwcap Closure Symposium, Marlborough, NZ in 2004.


journalofsparklingshiraz said...

Do you think will carry over to sparkling wines, Philip? (i.e. crown seals instead of cork?)

Philip White said...

Inevitably. The Champagne cork is the world's deadliest food closure.