A Portuguese winery is boldly going into screwcap – prompting condemnation from the country’s cork-producing interests.

Quinta do Cotto, one of the oldest vineyards in the Douro Valley, has launched two of its Paço de Teixeiró wines – white and rosé, both 2005 vintage – under screw cap.

And as Portugal is the world’s largest cork-producing country – the industry is worth around €1bn a year, according to the Portuguese Cork Association – the decision has caused upset.

‘We are obviously unhappy with this move because one of the main drivers for the cork industry is the wine sector,’ Joaquim Lima, head of the Portuguese Cork Association, told Reuters.

The winery is unrepentant. ‘We have been studying this type of closure for the past two years and are very pleased with it,’ winemaker Manuel Lobo told decanter.com. Even putting vintage port under screwcap is not out of the question, he added.

Lobo said screwcaps are more practical: ‘We did research with all of the closures on the market, and the results were quite good for the screw caps,’ he said. ‘We are still studying the effects on red wine, but other research in Australia has shown that screwcaps can work for reds as well.’

According to the domain’s owner, Miguel Champalimaud, cork costs have also spun out of control: ‘Today a cork is more expensive than a litre of wine. We have become cork salesmen instead of wine sellers,’ he said.

Written by Panos Kakaviatos