Celebrating? Pop the champagne…or unscrew the top

In an Australian first, a winery has released a champagne range sealed with a screw top instead of the cork that is synonymous with the beverage.

Taylors Winery’s developed a seal that could withstand the pressure of gassed sparkling wine and have now released the wine with the screw top.

Corks in red and white table wine bottles have almost ceased to exist entirely in Australia, and some specialist wine manufacturers have released sparkling wine with crown seals similar to beer bottles.

There have been mixed reactions to the move away from corks, some believe it is a step forward in ensuring the accessibility of such products, while others remain nostalgic about the celebratory pop of a champagne cork.

"Nothing beats the cork when it comes time for a celebration," Master of Wine Andrew Caillard admits.

But while popping a bottle of champagne is an integral part of celebrations, Caillard said the screw top option is designed for the everyday drop of bubbly.

The company is not entirely sure how consumers will receive the new packaging, and as such, only 10 per cent of its first release will have screw tops so it can gauge the reaction.

"A screw cap means you can drink a glass then shove the bottle back in the fridge," managing director Mitchell Taylor said

"It does take away a little from the romance.

"That's why we have been cautious to start."

Taylors was the first winemaker to introduce screw tops on its Rieslings 12 years ago, after it was found that cork taint spoiled one in 10 of the white wines.

In 2004 the winemaker sealed its entire range of red and white wines with screw tops and Taylor said the latest move, to offer crew tops on sparkling wines, ensured it was ahead of the pack.

"Because we have been such a driver in screw caps in the early days, we thought we would like to be one of the first to trial a new seal on sparklings as well,” he said.

"This is the latest frontier.”

Taylor said the company is hopeful the screw top will be well-received and that consumers will be willing to try it, as there is no loss of freshness or gas in the sparking wine from the initial trials.

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