Cape wine producer ditches screwcaps in favour of cork

04 February, 2011

South Africa’s Klein Constantia winery has reverted to cork closures for its flagship white wine following concerns that screwcaps were affecting quality.

The reserve Perdeblokke Sauvignon Blanc risks developing reductive characteristics when sealed with screwcaps, according to head winemaker Adam Mason.

The wine spends almost 10 months on fairly heavy lees before bottling and another 10 months in bottle before release.

“With this style of maturation there is a higher risk of developing sulphide characters, which in my opinion is exacerbated even further under screwcap,” Mason said.

“Using cork as a closure I have not experienced this phenomenon.

“The original reason for the shift to screwcap was due to the unacceptably high failure rate of cork, but in the last number of years I have seen a marked improvement in cork’s performance, so feel the low risk of cork failure more than compensates for the inevitable development of slightly reductive characters in this wine closed under screwcap.”

The move is a coup for cork producer Amorim, which says an increasing number of premium wineries in the US are switching to cork closures.

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