The name you’re looking for is Stelvin, that’s how those in the know call the wine stopper, most commonly known as screw-top.
Screw-top (also referred to as screw-cap) wine bottles are here to stay, and they offer immense advantages over corked wine bottles.
Stelvin screw-caps were invented in the 1960s in France, which is quite ironic — French winemakers are some of the most stubborn cork users, and they’re not very fond of the screw-top closures.
By the 1970s, winemakers adopted screw-tops in Switzerland, and soon Australia and New Zealand practically made the invention their own. Today, screw-tops make 32% of wine bottles globally.
Sadly, about 50% of consumers think screw-cap wines are of lower quality, but new wine-drinking generations have a more positive attitude towards the closure.
To think something so simple could change the world of wine is mesmerizing — a threaded aluminum cap that goes all the way down the bottle’s neck, with a rubber disk as a seal. No wine drop can escape the overly straightforward solution.
Here’s all you need to know about screw-top wine bottles, how to store screw-top wine bottles at home and what’s the actual difference between them and corked wine bottles.
Don’t think for a second screw-tops are used only to seal inexpensive wines. Today some of the most respected wineries use the closure, and this is just the beginning.
Screw-Top vs Corked: What’s The Difference?
Screw-caps were developed to fight a well-known cork fault, a fungus that grows in cork trees and can ruin a bottle of wine via something called ‘cork taint.’
The airborne fungus creates a substance known as TCA, which strips wine from its fruit flavors, leaving behind a recognizable smell reminiscent of wet cardboard or damp basement.
Cork producers are now more careful and have reduced the occurrence of cork taint to around 5% of all cork wine bottles. Still, no one wants to invest in a wine bottle to find it ruined by a faulty cork.
Screw-top wine bottles are obviously immune to TCA contamination, and they’re a less expensive proposition for winemakers, but everything comes at a cost.
Although corks can be contaminated, they are still a fantastic wine stopper. The porous tree bark allows minuscule amounts of air to slip through the bottle, which slowly oxidizes the wine, changing its nature in an evolution that’s quite pleasing and welcoming. It’s thanks to oxygen that wine ages.
Screw-top wine bottles, don’t evolve as well. Oxygen can’t make wine develop and open up, and the wine can end up smelling and tasting ‘reduced’ or sulfury. This newfound bump on the road still keeps traditionalist winemakers from adapting to the otherwise better closure option.
Screw-top closures have many other advantages over cork stoppers. You can open, close, and reseal any bottle with ease. Screw-tops are easily recyclable; they’re customer friendly and absolutely reliable. It comes as no surprise that the closure is gaining adepts.
What’s the best wine bottle closure option? There’s no right or wrong answer here, and it all comes down to the winemakers, their marketing teams, and the shoppers who ultimately prefer which wines to take home.
Looking for a good tool to reseal your prized bottle? Check out…
Haley's 5-in-1 multi-purpose wine stopper is often referred to as the 'Swiss Army Knife of wine tools'. Its leak-proof design keeps your wine fresh longer. Functions include aerating, pouring, filtering and resealing.
How To Properly Store Your Screw-Top Wine Bottles
Corked wine bottles need to be stored laid down, allowing the wine itself to keep the cork moist, preventing it from drying, which would lead to excess interaction with oxygen. A dried cork is as dangerous as a TCA tainted one.
Screw-top wine bottles are risk free in this department; there’s no cork drying or air sneaking in. This means you can store your screw-top bottles vertically, indefinitely.
Nevertheless, storing wines horizontally is more efficient and space-saving, so no matter the wine stopper, it’s customary to keep all bottles on their side.
There are other critical storing conditions to consider. We must always protect wine bottles from direct light, vibration, and heat. This applies to screw-top wine bottles, too.
Temperature matters as well. You must store both white and red wines between 45° F (7ºC) and 65° F (18ºC), with the sweet spot at 55ºF (13ºC).
Humidity levels between 50 and 80 percent, are your safest bet, even for screw-top bottles, mainly to preserve the wine labels intact.
As you see, storing screw-top wine bottles is quite similar to storing regular corked wine bottles. So, you can treat them in the same way.
The Future of Screw-Top Wine Bottles
Amcor, the leading producer of Stelvin or screw-top closures, is always innovating and taking the metallic closure to new frontiers.
The company’s Stelvin Inside screw-top line has interesting seals that allow small amounts of oxygen to slip through, while keeping every wine drop safely inside.
This innovation virtually eliminates the only real advantage of natural corks over screw tops, and now screw-top wine bottles can evolve and unfold while they age. This is a game-changer.
Only time will tell if screw-top wine bottles will overtake natural corks worldwide, but the future looks bright for the aluminum screw cap.
Now You’re A Screw-Top Expert
There’s no doubt screw-top wine stoppers are not going anywhere anytime soon, and better alternatives are far behind. The closure has changed the wine world as we know it for good, and slowly but surely screw caps are changing everyone’s perception about the old ways and the modern alternatives.
Screw-tops might even be the most critical innovation in wine packaging history since the industrialization of glass bottles, and that’s saying something. The wine universe is not one that changes very often.
Screw-top wines are not to be feared, and they don’t mean poor quality whatsoever. Screw-tops are eco-friendly, inexpensive, efficient, practical, and attractive, both for producers and consumers alike.
The next time you find yourself walking down the supermarket wine aisles, give screw-top wine bottles a chance. The freshness and the vibrant flavors perfectly preserved inside the bottle might surprise you.
Are you a crew-cap fan? Share this information with your drinking buddies and help screw-caps earn the popularity they deserve. Let’s show screw-top wine bottles some love!
16 of Your Common Wine Questions Answered
There are many questions asked when it comes to wine. So, we've decided to round the commonly-asked ones and address them once and for all.
Best Wine Pairings For Lasagna: A Quick Guide
What are the best wine pairings for lasagna? Try these ideas with our quick guide and make your experience around the table enjoyable!
Why You Need to Buy a Charcoal Filter for Your Cellar
Do you need a charcoal filter for your wine cellar? The answer is, yes. And this guide reveals the reason why.
How To Open A Corked Wine Bottle
Unlike screw-caps, corked wine bottles can be a little trickier to open. If you are a beginner, this guide shows you the steps!
Building A Wine Cellar: Factors To Consider
Are you planning to build a wine cellar at home? From your budget to understanding temperatures and more, here are some factors to consider.
Is a Wine Fridge Suitable for Food Storage?
Wondering if it's okay to store food in your wine fridge? Here are the pros and cons, plus a couple of tips to make it work.