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Spanish Federation of Associations of Oenologists
Experts have discovered that millions of bottles of wine with screw-on stoppers could be ruined by the smell of rotten eggs.

23. January ’07 – Tests suggest that more than one in every 50 bottles with screw-on stoppers sold in Great Britain could be affected by the problem, a chemical process called sulphuration. These figures put in doubt the industry’s claim that screw-on stoppers are safer and more reliable than cork stoppers.

During the International Wine Challenge thousands of wines were tasted from around the world including around 9,000 with screw-on stoppers. It was found that 2•2 per cent of the bottles with screw-on stoppers suffered from sulphuration and other problems relating to the reduction of wine. These effects leave an odour of sulphur, compared by some to burnt cork, rotten eggs, burnt matches or stink bombs. In Great Britain around 100 million bottles of wine with screw-on stoppers are sold every year and this figure is rising as it becomes a popular alternative to the cork stopper.

Almost 90 per cent of wine from New Zealand sold in Great Britain arrives in bottles with a screw-on stopper. Warren Adamson, British director of the New Zealand Wine & Grape Industry, commented: “It is the first time
that there are official figures on the problem of sulphur with screw-on stoppers. These are helpful for our producers. However New Zealand wines represent only 1•7 per cent of the wines affected, very much below average”.

But the British critic / taster Martin Isark comments: “Although the problem of aroma appears in a small percentage, with more than one hundred million bottles with screw-on stoppers on our shelves, it is a potentially big stink”.