You are currently viewing the International Edition. You can also switch to the Hong Kong Edition.
Saturday 4 July 2015

Italy allows use of screwcap – with compromises

30th October, 2012 by Rupert Millar

The Italian Ministry of Agriculture has amended its decree of July 1993 to allow some – but crucially not all – DOCG wines to be bottled under screwcap.

However, the amendment does not stretch to wines that include a sub-zone or the name of a vineyard on the label.

The change in the law comes after a lengthy debate that was started in October 2006 following the arrival of a letter from David Gleave MW, managing director of Liberty Wines, asking for a change in the law that only allowed cork to be used as a closure for DOCG wines.

The new decree was ratified on 13 August this year but in a statement Gleave said that it did not go far enough, calling it a “crass compromise”.

“As from early next year, we expect to start shipping a Soave Classico under screwcap. But here is the rub. We can ship both a Soave Classico and a Soave Superiore DOCG under screwcap, but not a Soave Classico Superiore DOCG.

“This latter wine needs to be sealed with cork. Such a crass compromise does little to promote the image of Italy as a quality- focussed and innovative wine producing country, especially when we currently import Chablis Grand Cru, Chablis Premier Cru, Puligny Montrachet Premier Cru and other such European wines sealed under screwcap.”

The statement continues that Liberty has been in touch with its producers to see which will be moving to the newly permitted closure but stressed that the announcement from the ministry is merely one less stumbling block in Italy’s bureaucratic system.

“The decree has removed the obstacle previously placed in the way of those producers who wanted to use screwcaps, but does underline the fact that local consorzi must instigate any change.

“Once a majority of members of any consorzio votes in favour of a change, the amended law (disciplinare) for that particular zone must be sent to Rome for approval.”

So far, he said, producers in Chianti, Gavi and Barolo & Barbaresco had applied to their consorzios to implement the change.

 

5 Responses to “Italy allows use of screwcap – with compromises”

  1. federica says:

    Why insist so much to allow screwcaps in the first place?
    The natural cork not only is a perfectly good way of sealing bottles, but it’s also the best solution for aging great wines. (Imagine a vintage Barolo in 20 years time with a screwcap??)
    As an Italian living in London i only buy bottles of wine with a cork (wherever they might be from). There is an element of craftsmanship, ritual and a romantic / old-school feel to corks, that screwcaps will never be able to replace.
    ILeave the screwcaps to new world wines?

    • Marcello Fabretti says:

      Well, Federica, so winemakers the world over have been moving to Stelvin closures en masse for 20 years now and I suppose they’ve done it based on absolutely no reason at all, right?…

      You say, “imagine a Barolo vintage Barolo in 20 years time with a screwcap”. Tell you what, if I had a bottle of Barolo that I’d carefully cellared for 20 years and opened it with as much flourish and ritual that you seem to admire, only to find that it’s corked or randomly oxidised, I’d be pretty pissed off. Now that would be fine if I were only paying peanuts for the wine and had multiple bottles to pick from and could return the spoiled wine to the original distributor. But Barolo ain’t cheap, Sunshine, and I don’t want to waste time and money on something that could spoil THROUGH NO FAULT OF MY OWN. So yeah, if I had a Barolo under screwcap I would breath a sigh of relief.

      Anyone who bemoans the loss of ritual in using a bottle opener to extract a piece of bark from a bottle is an idiot and shouldn’t even be allowed to comment on the issue. Stelvins make sense. I wouldn’t buy a bottle of milk or coke or OJ sealed with a piece of bark, so why should I accept it in wine?

      Cork causes more problems than it solves. And yeah, it’s awesome in so far as it’s environmentally sustainable and all that blah mcblah, but at the end of the day, it doesn’t do it’s job right. Fact. And expecting the consumer, retailers, distributors and winemakers to take the hit for an innately faulty closure because of sentimental and wishy-washy spiritual reasons, is ridiculous.

      So Fede’, the fact that you only stick to wines under cork is your own valid choice, but not one based in logic or quality based appreciation. Just ignorance, really.

    • Screw-caps are a much safer way of trying to eliminate TCA from wine. I love a cork, but I HATE a corked wine – until there are ways of ensuring that TCA can be removed from cork closures, screw-caps are surely the way forward. I would have no objection to opening a 20 year old Barolo with a screw-cap – rather that than open it after having waited 20 years to find it corked. As for leaving screw-caps to new world wines – what is that supposed to mean!? Implication that new world wines are inferior? Agree with David Gleave, this is positive, but does not go far enough.

  2. More screwcaos means less Cork Oak to be cut for our bottles. However, will the quality be compromised from this?

    • Nick says:

      Nowadays many wines don’t even use natural cork- they have moved towards synthetic corks (see normacorc). So the whole arguement about environmental sustainability goes out the window!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

If that's interesting, how about these?

Hong Kong: Red obsession

While whites are starting to be taken seriously in Hong Kong restaurants, the more...

Wine from Napoleon’s carriage to be sold

A bottle of wine apparently found in Napoleon’s carriage after Waterloo – more...

En primeur: beware the heralded vintage?

From an investment point of view is it best to buy the “vintages of the more...

PR Senior Account Manager/Director

London, United Kingdom

Depending on experience

Scots invited to explore Chianti Classico and Prosecco

The promotional bodies for Prosecco Conegliano-Valdobbiadene and Chianti more...

Californian wine struggling with supply

There is a "growing mismatch" between supply and demand that is badly hampering more...

Beaujolais pushes for sparkling AOC

Beaujolais is trying to gain AOC status for its sparkling wines which, with it more...

Sales Executive - Wines & Spirits Competitions

London, United Kingdom

Competitive

Sud de France launches Wine Hub

An "innovative" tool designed to support wine producers and importers operating more...

Top 10 wines in the US press

An impressive Tannat-Merlot-Zinfandel blend from Uruguay and a Vernaccia from more...

Final call for Liberty apprentice scheme

Liberty Wines is inviting final applications for its apprentice programme, more...

Oregon producer takes international view

One of Oregon’s youngest wine estates has partnered with Jackson Family Wines more...

Australia puts quality centre stage

Wine Australia has pledged to invest AUD$35m annually for the next five years more...

Is Parker wrong about the 05 Médocs?

With no Médoc wines gaining 100-points in Robert Parker’s retrospective of more...

Warehouse Supervisor

London, United Kingdom

£27,000-£30,000 depending on experience

Top 10 wines in the US press

A Texan Albariño, NY Riesling and Californian Syrah are among the wine tips more...

Top 10 wines in the UK press

An English fizz fit for Wimbledon, a "chunky, berry-stuffed" Negroamaro and a more...

Vinadeis unveils Languedoc 'black diamonds'

One of France’s largest wine producers has launched a high-end Languedoc more...

PR Manager

Competitive

Shock over wine named 'dung' in German

A row has broken out over a decision by St Tropez's wine co-operative to name more...

Santa Rita launching new Irish campaign

Chilean wine producer Santa Rita Estates is spending €500,000 on a new more...

Sutcliffe steps down from Sotheby’s role

Serena Sutcliffe MW has stepped down from her position as worldwide head of more...

Wine Buyer

London, United Kingdom

Based on experience

Copa América: Malbec vs Carmenère

Saturday sees Chile and Argentina go head-to-head in football’s Copa América more...

Austrian wine importer launches in Hong Kong

A wine importer specialising in Austrian wines has launched in Hong Kong to more...