When I am out in the field making presentations to wine aficionados, it appears that questions about “twist off” closures (also known as “screw tops”) far out number questions on any other wine subject. There is almost never any winemaker dinner or tasting for the public where the question is not raised to wine professionals. So here is my humble opinion.
I have to admit I am unabashedly in favor of new technologies that improve our products. And there would appear to be no question that twist off closures have reached the stage where they clearly provide a more secure closure. We are to the point already where almost the majority of wines from Australia and New Zealand are being packaged with twist off closures. The acceptance by the industry in Europe or the United States has been much slower, but even here some iconic Napa Valley brands and brands from other AVAs are adopting the technology.
If you accept that oxygen, oxidization, leaking corks, and cork taint (see related blog on “cork taint” in this series of articles) are all enemies of wine, then sooner or later one has to come to conclusion that we will get a better quality product if we use more secure closures, and today that means twist off closures.
The objections seem to be several: 1) it is not as romantic or traditional; 2) the sommeliers don’t like them as it takes away from a sommelier’s job (not true, the sommelier’s jobs include making selections for and managing the cellar and helping you choose the right wine for your food choices and budget, not necessarily to “be on stage” to “pull a cork”; plus over 50% of wine served in restaurants today is served by the glass); 3) the wine doesn’t age as well with a twist off enclosure (this is remedied by continuing to use the highest quality cork closures only for those very best wines you intend to cellars for two, four, ten years, and where you wish the “aging” process to take place, most wines are consumed young today).
In short, as soon as consumers accept the concept of twist off closures, I would expect them to become nearly universal. Will that be in ten years, twenty years, who knows, but surely within the reasonably foreseeable future!