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Screw caps: Not at all the “perfect” enclosure

Got a new wine shipment today with one “dead soldier” in the box which does happen from time to time. The difference is, however, the one that leaked was a bottle that had the “perfect enclosure” on it – a screw cap.

While screw caps do hold in the “freshness” of a wine rather well, as you can see from this picture, it’s far from perfect. One little bump and it can break its seal.

Screw caps: Far from perfect

  • Dan K

    Wow. This is interesting in the fact that the damaged closure was obvious and detectable immediately. Trust me, there are more “leakers” in cork than in “screw cap”. The cork (tree bark ) is defective ( tainted ) 5% 0f the time. That’s 1 in every 25 bottles destroyed by the closure. I guarantee that many bottles you’ve purchased are damaged (5%), you just don’t know it yet. No manufacturing industry in the world would tolerate this defect rate, PERIOD! Even more interesting, 20% of all wine sealed with tree bark are randomly oxidized within 24 months (Australian wine commission research ). In other words, 25% of cork finished wine damaged by tree bark within 24 months. I run a large winery which produces 140,000 case a year ranging from $20.00 – $90.00/bottle 100% in Stelvin closure. I’ve never found a defective closure. Be happy you found this bottle without having to open it. Any retailer would refund your purchase price. Try that with a half drunk corked bottle.

  • http://www.winefoot.com Duane Pemberton

    Hi Dan, thanks for the comments!

    I couldn’t help but notice on your page that the red wines are not using screw caps and only two of the whites you have on the website are using screw caps.

    While I don’t at all disagree that screw caps do have certain advantages, the point of this post was to point out that even they too have their weaknesses.

    Fyi, I have returned empty bottles before that were corked. No need to keep the wine in there if it’s bad.

    Regarding natural cork failure rate? Here’s an excerpt from Steve Heimoff’s article:

    What is the failure rate of corks? Depends on whom you ask. My own experience is around 1.5%. It used to be much worse, maybe 10-15 years ago, so it seems like the cork industry is making progress. Dustin showed me a chart on TCA analysis in natural corks over the last ten years; the tests were conducted by a third party lab, ETS Laboratories, in St. Helena, so there’s no worry of bias. TCA, measured in parts per trillion, averaged just over 4.0 in 2002 and has steadily declined since, with 2012 averaging about 0.50. Dustin citedChristian Butzke, an enology professor at Purdue University: “TCA is no longer a major problem for the US Wine industry.”

    http://www.steveheimoff.com/index.php/2012/11/16/cork-equal-time-in-the-closure-wars/