Appears in

Oxford Companion to Wine

Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

  • About

screwcaps, sometimes known as ROTEs (roll-on, tamper-evident), and often by the brand name Stelvin®, have emerged as the leading competitor to cork in terms of performance if not yet in terms of usage. They are cheaper than top-quality corks, and no capsules are needed, but the cost of new bottling equipment and bottles can deter smaller producers.

Screwcaps as an alternative to cork for bottling wine were first used in 1959, when a French company introduced the Stelcap-vin, which had already proved successful for a range of spirits and liqueurs. The rights to manufacture this closure were acquired by Australian Consolidated Industries Ltd (ACI) in 1970 and it was renamed Stelvin® for the Australian market. ACI trials of four closures (three screwcaps with different wadding materials and a cork for comparison) on three red and three white wines, first reported in 1976, concluded that screwcaps were ideal for sealing wine bottles but only if they had the right wadding material and a satisfactory seal between bottle and cap. An industry push towards screwcaps at that time lost momentum, partly through lack of consumer acceptance, and partly because awareness of the shortcomings of cork were not as widespread then as now.