ICB has repackaged four of its 11 Vinemaster wines in Stelvin screwtops, including the Really Chile, Bushwhacker and Buffalo Creek collections, and plans to convert the rest of the range within the next year.
Joint managing director, Paul Burton, said the decision to convert to screwtop was in response to pressure from customers such as Bargain Booze and Jacksons. “Retailers are asking for it and we have to respond,” he said.
“When you consider that as many as one in seven wines are found to be corked, it’s not surprising that many are moving away from cork in favour of other closures.”
Burton said the pioneering work of international New World brands and wine writers had changed the perception of screwtop as tacky.
ICB would not “hold a gun” to the heads of winemakers but instead try to demonstrate to them the benefits of changing from cork to Stelvin, he insisted.
“We will do our part in spreading the message that it’s what the trade is looking for and encourage suppliers to make the require capital investment,” he said. “At the end, we all stand to lose business if we don’t adhere to what our customers want.” He said that plastic was thought not to be as reliable in the prevention of oxidisation as Stelvin.
ICB’s announcement comes as Tesco revealed it was on target to meet its goal of converting half its wine to screwtop closures by the end of 2005. Nearly 200 of its 750 wines use the closure.