Since the introduction of the screw top closure onto wine bottles, the debate about cork and screw tops has raged among the advocates and the traditionalists. The debate has not gotten any less heated over recent years, but have consumer habits changed?
New world wine producers led the way when it came to investing in screw top application machines. Australian and South African vineyards were some of the first. Old world wines such as French wines believed it would only be short lived, but the consumer has voted with their wallet.
Today the screw top has become accepted by the majority of online wine drinkers for many reasons. The primary reason is the abundance of screw tops used with online wine brands. The second reason is the perception of increased quality, i.e the belief that cork wines have a higher probability of being corked which can be an urban myth. The third reason is convenience as a screw top, especially for white and rose wines online offers the ability to drink from the bottle across multiple occasions during the week.
There is no real difference between screw top and cork, albeit the occasion of popping a great bottle of wine and smelling the cork. It is this ritual that makes the cork application unique and historically rich. To some this ritual is so important that screw tops are perceived as very low quality.
The growth of screw will continue as vineyards invest more in technology, but we believe that the real top end of wines online will remain in cork because of the perceived increased value. Some brands just below top end have moved into screw caps but again these have been new world rather than old world. It seems that French wine may well be the last country to adopt the change, but perhaps they never will across top end wines.
In two years time those brands that had intended to move into screw top will have and then there will be two different categories, but we believe most online wine consumers are ambivalent now to the change for white and rose wines. Red wines are perhaps different as their richness and multiple flavour dimensions of the wine lend themselves better to a cork.
There is a problem with online wine shopping as unlike bricks and mortar retail the consumer finds it difficult to differentiate from a picture if the brand has a screw or cork. To help with this some online wine merchants state on the wine description the application.
So if you are a screw top or a cork fan you can be secure in the knowledge that your choice is the right choice for you and your wine that you have chosen online will be divine. For those of you who just don’t care then you are the lucky ones.
Maybe in the near future technology may again advance the closure after all there is a cork and a plastic cork. Only time will tell, enjoy your wine.