Canada's First Quality Wine Under Screwcap (November 3, 2003)
Henry of Pelham in Ontario's Niagara Peninsula has become the first Canadian
winery to have the courage to bottle a quality wine under screwcap.
The wine in question is their 2002 Barrel Fermented Chardonnay, which
will retail for $18.25 and will be available in December through Vintages
and at the winery.
The wine industry generally is nervous about the public reaction to screwcaps,
since this closure has traditionally been used for down-market blends.
But cork is responsible for many tainted bottles. Anecdotal evidence suggests
that as many as one in twelve wines have been adversely affected by a
Henry of Pelham's proprietor Paul Speck took the gamble in packaging
his Chardonnay under screwcap, but he offset his odds by bottling one-quarter
of the 1000-case production under the new closure.
To set the mind of the apprehensive consumer at rest, Speck has attached
a neck label to the screwcap Chardonnay 2002, which will be sold side-by-side
on the shelves with the cork-closed bottles: "A tradition is a good
idea that works. 400 years ago a monk had a good idea; he stopped his
bottles with corks. In the 17th century corks worked better than other
stoppers and a tradition was born. But cork is made from oak bark which
can produce off-flavours in wine. The bottle you buy should taste as the
winemaker intended and in the 21st century there's a way to eliminate
the off-flavours of cork. We believe in tradition and that is why we present
you with a good idea that works today: Globalcap screw-caps. Keeping with
this new tradition we are using screw-caps in our finest wines first
like the bottle you have in your hand."