Is it true screwcaps for wine originated in Australia?

Ask Dr Vinny

Hello there! I'm Dr. Vinifera, but you can call me Vinny. Ask me your toughest wine questions, from the fine points of etiquette to the science of winemaking. And don't worry, I'm no wine snob—you can also ask me those "dumb questions" you're too embarrased to ask your wine geek friends! I hope you find my answers educational, empowering and even amusing. And don't forget to check out my most asked questions and my full archives for all my Q&A classics.

Dear Dr. Vinny,

Is it true screwcaps for wine originated in Australia?

—Walt, Astoria, N.Y.

Dear Walt,

In 1964, the then-director of Australia’s Yalumba winery approached a French company, Le Bouchage Mechanique, about creating a screwcap sealing system for their wines, but the first Stelvin cap was trialed by a Swiss wine in 1972. In 1973, a group of Australian wineries including Yalumba, Penfolds and Tahbilk, started commercially releasing wines under the twist-off.

Winemakers liked it, but it was stigmatized as a closure for lower-quality wines, and it was mostly phased out in the 1980s. Even Yalumba abandoned the closure until 2000.

Screwcaps started gaining momentum again in the 1990s, when “cork taint” started getting a lot of attention. Screwcaps ensure consistent quality and eliminate the possible cork contamination of TCA, which can make wine smell dank and musty.

Australia and New Zealand in particular were early adopters of the new closure technology, and these days about 75 percent of the wines we see from those two countries are topped with a screwcap.

—Dr. Vinny

Closures Screwcaps Ask Dr. Vinny

More In Dr. Vinny

Is it OK to brush my teeth before tasting wine? Does toothpaste change the way wine tastes?

Wine Spectator's resident wine expert Dr. Vinny explains why brushing your teeth and wine …

Sep 26, 2022

What’s the difference between Hermitage and Ermitage? Are they the same wine?

Wine Spectator's expert Dr. Vinny explains what the H is going on with Hermitage vs. …

Sep 19, 2022

When traveling, are any wines more or less susceptible to bottle shock than others?

Wine Spectator's expert Dr. Vinny explains the phenomenon of "bottle shock" and how to …

Sep 12, 2022

What’s the best way to remove a crumbly wine cork? I’ve tried everything!

Wine Spectator's expert Dr. Vinny offers tips for extracting crumbly corks, and how to …

Sep 7, 2022

What’s the difference between Petite Sirah and Syrah?

Wine Spectator's expert Dr. Vinny explains that Syrah and Petite Sirah have quite a bit in …

Aug 29, 2022

I have about 50 bottles of wine. Should I buy a wine fridge?

Wine Spectator's expert Dr. Vinny offers advice for when to upgrade your wine storage at …

Aug 22, 2022