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America ‘baffled’ by screwcaps

While screwcaps are being used increasingly, America’s wine industry is baffled about their future.

Depending on who is asked, screwcaps are ‘poised on the edge of phenomenal success’ or are ‘comfortably settling into a niche status,’ according to Wine Business Monthly’s annual closure research.

‘The most adventurous and savviest wine consumers have seemingly embraced the closure, while traditional and less wine-educated consumers still seem unsure of what to do,’ the California trade publication said.

Its survey of 237 domestic and foreign wineries showed that respondents using screwcaps increased from 5% in 2004 to 25% in 2007, the publication reported.

The Nielsen Company, which tracks supermarket wine, found the number of brands offering at least one screwcapped wine jumped to 214 from 120 in the nine months to December 2006.

Sales of screwcapped whites more than double those of reds and ‘imports comprise more than two-thirds of the total segment,’ the monthly said. ‘Most screwcapped wines are purchased between $8 and $11.99.’

Although spoiled corks still beset wineries, the ‘perception of natural corks as a good value’ has made a significant gain, the monthly reported.

Howard Goldberg discusses screwcaps in the Stateside section of this month’s Decanter magazine, on sale now

Written by Howard G Goldberg in New York

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