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Continued Success for Screw Cap Closures

May 9th, 2015 by Dean Ricker

Filed under: Skolnik Newsletter, Wine

Just as stainless steel wine barrels have gone against the tide of tradition and been very successful in the wine industry, alternative bottle closures have done the same. While some might argue that the ever-increasing quantity of wine styles, blends and points of origin confuse consumers, hard data demonstrate that the U.S. wine market just keeps growing. In the aftermath of the recession, higher priced wines have recovered market share. Wine packaging suppliers continue to bring in new developments feeding niche markets, notably bag-in-box and single-serve options. The vast majority of premium wines still reach consumers in glass bottles, and most of them continue to be sealed with traditional natural cork and capsules. Applying screwcaps necessitates “frequent tweaking” of bottling line equipment to maintain consistency. The process itself can be a little arduous, you have to take the air out and put nitrogen in. But, screwcaps are far less expensive than cork/capsule: 20 to 50 cents per bottle. The wine trade is a tradition-bound industry, and took a little longer to transition. There is still some moaning and groaning about the ‘loss of romance’ with alternative closures, and occasional sustainability (‘corks are natural’) arguments. New Zealand’s winemakers overwhelmingly embraced screwcap closures, joined to a lesser extent by Australian vintners and European experimenters. Relatively recently, U.S.-produced premium wineries have begun adopting screwcaps and synthetic stoppers—largely without fanfare or consumer resistance. The opportunity to experiment and employ varied closure options demands attention from both winemakers and marketing specialists. When it comes to selecting among the options, plan ahead and look for that happy balance of price, consistency, application ease, appearance and market acceptance to achieve a formula that fits your wines and keeps your audience satisfied.

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