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New Twist For Our Wine Industry

The future face of our wine industry is due for unveiling this weekend.

Kim Crawford's 2001 Marlborough Dry Riesling will be the first premium quality New Zealand wine released on the home market in twist-open, screw-topped bottles.

The wine will be launched at a "Midnight Tasting" at Central Auckland's "Spy Bar" on Sunday 12th August. It will be available in selected wine shops and supermarkets from Monday 13th August onwards.

"We've opted for the screw-top because of our concern for quality and consistency. Far too much wine gets spoiled by cork contamination. In fact, at last year's Air New Zealand Wine Awards, 32 percent of the Riesling-class wines were deemed 'corked' by the judges.

"Some corked wine is more or less drinkable although it doesn't taste as the winemaker intended. But you can also open a bottle and be greeted by that all too familiar scent of musty cardboard or wet carpet. There just has to be a better alternative!" says Mr Crawford.

"Cork also fails to provide wine bottles with totally airtight seals. As a result, oxygen enters the bottle, giving the wine an unwanted nuttiness and sherry-like taste. This 'oxidised' wine browns rapidly and looses its fruit flavours," he says, adding that oxidation can be even more of a problem when plastic corks are used and that this can prevent wine from ageing "gracefully".

According to Kim Crawford, the move to screw-top bottles is already gathering pace in Australia and California. He describes the "Stelvin capsule" tops as sealing-in the full, fruity and natural taste that is so important a feature of the best "new world" wines, including those from New Zealand.

"In addition to Riesling, New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc and other unwooded wines, such as Unoaked Chardonnay, should benefit particularly from screw-tops, as should aromatic wines such as Pinot Gris and Gewurtztraminer.

"A number of other leading New Zealand producers are expected to launch screw-tops on the home market in the near future. There used to be a public perception that this type of bottling belonged at the cheaper end of the market. But, increasingly, screw-tops are becoming associated with quality wines, particularly amongst younger drinkers," he says.

Mr Crawford adds that screw-topped wines are increasingly popular in the United Kingdom, which is our wine industry's most significant overseas market.

Of 1,000 cases of screw-top bottled Kim Crawford 2001 Marlborough Dry Riesling, approximately 40 percent will be exported to help meet the ever-swelling UK demand for high quality, fresh and fruity "new world" wines.

Ends


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