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Long-term effect of screw-top closure


Apologies if this has been covered before.

A few months ago I went to a Chateau Musar tasting - lucky me - led by the Musar wine-maker Tarek Sakr, a very interesting and enjoyable event.

One thing Tarek said was that he believed screw-tops completely sealed the wine and that there was therefore no oxygen to create evolution in the wine. In effect what I understood was that he was saying the wine was pretty much inert.

I hadn’t thought about this before but wondered if he was right. I’ve since read that some screw-tops do let oxygen permeate, some don’t, some might do. I haven’t got any old enough screw-top wines to test for myself, but I do have some, and am now wondering if I can just leave them for as long as I like without worry.

Anyone have any relevant insight or experience, or able to cast any more light on the subject?

P.S. All the reds were terrific, the whites more “unusual”.


From Janics column in the FT:


Back in the 1990s, Australian and New Zealand wine producers became so frustrated with the poor quality of corks they were sent that most of them switched wholesale to screwcaps, which do the job of keeping out wine’s enemy, oxygen, extremely efficiently — initially too efficiently. Now most producers have worked out their ideal OTR (oxygen transmission rate) and choose screwcaps they think will allow the right amount of oxygen through the lining of the cap to facilitate the wine’s ageing process.

There are certainly a number of Australian and NZ chardonnays that are sealed under screwcap and meant to age


So many questions and points in one comment … where to start?! :slight_smile:

First, jealousy about the tasting!

Second, be assured you can keep your screwcapped wines for at least as long as your corks, or longer.

Third, evolution in wines is not just about the Oxygen that gets in, but what is in at bottling, so it is a complex picture, but …

Fourth, modern screwcaps have linings that allowed controlled oxygen access that matches corks and can be selected by the winemaker, so being more precise., but of course individual ones can still fail.

I am sure there are greater experts than me that will answer, but certainly nothing to be concerned about :slight_smile:


I’ve always assumed (based on nothing at all, mind you) that the everyday wines that need to be drunk young probably also have everyday screwcaps that keep everything out (which is fine for that purpose), and that when a producer is making a posher vin de garde, they will also go to the effort of sourcing screwcaps which allow the right amount of oxygen in to facilitate cork-style ageing.

Perhaps a little complacent, but I’m keeping my Kooyongs back with that reasoning in mind…!


Really ?? Whish one? Chardonnay , Pinot Noir or the Gris?


The Haven pinot noir. I’ve got a couple of Moorooduc pinots as well (thanks to Great Western Wine’s sale last year!) that I’m gonna try and hold back to see how they pan out (gotta stay strong). All 2012s.

The Massale pinot is excellent as well, mind :+1:


Also worth noting that you can now get screwtops with different levels of permeability for aging purposes.


Oooooohh more spending and living on fresh air for me I think :rofl::rofl:


I’m not too worried about keeping wine with screw tops, more interested in the concept and possible longevity. What really surprised me was Tarek’s dismissive attitude. I don’t think we’ll be seeing screw-top Musar in the near future!