Tesco has upped the ante in the great cork debate, launching a collection of mid-range, screw-capped wines and attacking the cork industry. The Grocer last week revealed how an industry survey claimed 75% of UK consumers prefer cork closures. However the findings were attacked from all sides, with critics claiming consumers were open to new ideas. There has also been growing concern in the industry about the increasing number of bottles being spoiled by tainted corks. Now Tesco is taking the debate forward by launching a 26-strong range with screw- caps on April 10. A spokesman said: "Our launch comes at a time when the cork industry persists in attacking alternative closures, be they plastic, corks or screwcaps, with costly advertising and PR stunts. Surely R&D into the causes of, and solutions to, the problems of cork taint would be a better way to spend the money." But Francisco de Brito Evangelista, director of the International Campaign For Cork, responded: "Our aim is to show we are investing in R&D to produce the best possible quality cork stoppers. "Advertising and PR are needed to show that when it comes to choice, consumers still prefer natural cork." Among Tesco's new offerings are wines from leading New World producers including Southcorp and Hardys. The multiple is also introducing its own label screw-cap range called Unwind. The list features two Sauvignon Blancs from Australia, Jackson Estate and Lawsons Dry Hills, which the multiple sold successfully in screwcaps last year. Southcorp has eight wines from its Lindemans, Penfolds and Rosemount ranges in the collection. Marketing director James Lousada said: "When we tried to do this before there was concern about the maximum price consumers were prepared to pay for wines with a screw-cap. The marketing muscle we can put behind this with Tesco means we will have a better chance of convincing consumers. "The caps have been associated with cheap wines at the bottom end of the market and it will take time to shift consumers' perceptions." Tesco has pitched most of the collection in the mid-priced market between £4-£6, with five of them retailing between £6-£9. {{DRINKS }}