Even Americans who don’t know much about wine know one thing — wine that doesn’t have a cork (meaning wine that comes with a screw cap … shudder, shudder) isn’t worth drinking.

It may be time to change that attitude.

There are a variety of reasons, but several well-known and respected producers are phasing out corks in favor of screw tops. There aren’t a lot of them yet, mostly Australian and New Zealand wineries who have signed up for the New Zealand Screwcap Wine Seal Initiative. In addition, a handful of U.S. wineries, including some boutique producers, are testing screw caps. If these companies get away with the switch, expect to see an ever-increasing number of corkless wines.

That’s because screw tops are considerably less expensive, kinder to the environment (corks are made from the bark of the cork oak tree) and may offer protection from something called “corked” wine — what happens when the cork doesn’t seal properly, spoiling the wine. Plus, say advocates, screw cap technology has improved so much that wines probably age as well with them as they do with corks.

Want to test the difference yourself? Bonny Doon, long a popularly priced favorite, has switched to screw caps for its Big House Red and Ca’ del Solo bottles, and they are readily available in the Dallas area. You might also be to find wine from Australia’s Jacob’s Creek and Penfolds here that use screw tops.


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