New Zealand producer Villa Maria will put all its 2002 vintage for the USA, Australia and New Zealand under screwcap – but 10% will be sealed with cork for the UK.

Only 90% of the 2002 vintage destined for the UK will be closed with screwcaps following objections from retailers. Villa Maria was forced to seal 10% of the 2002 vintage for the UK with natural cork, in response to specific requests from UK retailers and wholesalers who are nervous about making the change to screwcaps. They hope to persuade all UK retailers to accept screwcaps by the 2003 vintage.

Managing director George Fistonich told decanter.com, ‘Obviously it is our expectation that the consumers will embrace the change to screwcaps and those who have been reluctant to move will do so next year.’

Recent research into wine closures by the Australian Wine Research Institute (AWRI) found screwcaps performed well – with lower levels of taint than natural or synthetic corks. Wine sealed with screwcaps also maintained a better level of free SO2 – a good indicator of potential protection from oxidation.

Villa Maria – New Zealand’s third-largest winery – claims that cork taint has ruined 8% of its wines in the past, with a further 20-30% dulled through oxidation.

‘Evidence from around the world clearly indicates that screwcaps are the best form of closure and will eradicate these problems,’ said Fistonich.

picture courtesy villamaria.co.nz

Written by Josie Butchart30 August 2002