Damaged screwcap, but wine still in good nick

The damaged screwcap and low-ullage level wine received by Huon Hooke (Photo: Huon Hooke)

In all my years of opening screw-capped wines, several thousand bottles a year, I have never seen a seriously damaged cap. Until this week.

The cap was damaged to the extent that the metal was split – the aluminium broken and the wadding damaged. The wine was ullaged, so it seemed wine had seeped out, although there was no other sign of leaking, such as a stained label. However, the level was near the base of the neck, well below where it should be – probably 5cm below the normal fill-height of a screw-capped wine.

The wonder was that this wine was still in good nick despite apparent leakage.

However, there was nothing in the aroma or taste that suggested the wine had been compromised. Without having a second bottle to compare, I’d say it was in mint condition. But I wouldn’t keep a wine like that: it could only deteriorate with further keeping.

The wine was an Adelaide Hills pinot grigio, whose name I won’t mention as it’s not a winery issue: the damage almost certainly happened in transit.

The wonder was that this wine was still in good nick despite apparent leakage with – you’d have to conclude – a similar volume of air getting in.

If you find yourself in the possession of such a bottle, I’d suggest you take it back to the place it was purchased and ask for a replacement. No self-respecting winemaker would want to risk their wine being presented out of condition.

*Read my previous article Australia’s latest Master of Wine’s screwcap claim sparks retorts here.

7 thoughts on “Damaged screwcap, but wine still in good nick”

  1. Mahmoud Ali says:

    I tried to add to my reply to Larry but for some reason it wouldn’t allow me. What I wanted to add was that Best’s House Block Riesling comes from a vineyard adjacent to Viv Thompson’s house. A vvery nice man, he gave us a bottle of 1997 Pinot Munier when we visited his cellar door because we were from Edmonton, Canada and he was going to visit later that year. Needless to say we caught up with him at a restaurant tasting of his wines which featured the ’98 Bin 0 and Cabernet. Excellent wines they were. And on topic, his ’98 Riesling, which I had purchased long before, was excellentwhen I opened it at about 15 years of age. Cellar those Aussie rieslings, not just Best’s.


  2. Larry says:

    About 10 years ago I purchased some riesling from Great Western where the screwcaps were not properly spun onto the bottles and were leaky. I contacted the winery via email and they advised me to drink soon. No offer of replacements. I don’t buy that wine anymore mostly because it has a little too much residual sugar for daily drinking but also because of this history.

    1. Mahmoud Ali says:

      I would revisit the decision Larry. At the Riesling Down Under event in Sydney earler this year I tasted three of Best’s rielings. All were good but two of them were uniquly different. One was their Foudre Ferment, a small batch of riesling fermented in a 2,500l oak foudre. Limited production of the single foudre, uniquely characterful. The House Block riesling is made in the German Kabinett style, just off-dry and only 10.5% alc. Delicious and refreshing.

      1. Mahmoud Ali says:

        Oh, the House Block getss it’s name because the vineyard block is right next to Viv Thompson’s house. Nice man. He gave me a bottle of ’97 Pinot Munier when we were at cellar just because we were from Edmonton, Canada and he was going to visit Edmonton later in the year. Needless to say we caught up with him at a restaurant tasting of his wines in Edmonton featuring ’98 Bin 0 and Cabernet. Excellent wines. I opened his ’98 Riesling at 15 years of age and it was excellent. Just saying.


  3. Bob L says:

    The screw closure seems to be pretty resilient. I have had some quite damaged caps, including a couple which split. So far no leakage or apparent effect except for the bottle which sustained damage to the top of the threaded section under the cap. That was my own fault.

  4. Damien says:

    You don’t really have to mention the winery’s name when it’s got a screwcap as distinctive as that!
    Maybe the winemaker’s pedigree helped keep it in good nick? 😉

  5. Tom Grant says:

    Hi Huon and team at The Real Review,
    Really disappointing to see one of our wines turn up in poor condition. We are sending a replacement bottle today hopefully to you before the end of the week.

    Tom Grant

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