Wines with cork ‘screw-tops’ pop up in local bottle stores

There’s nothing quite like the audible ‘pop’ of a cork departing the neck of a wine bottle; for many it’s a Pavlovian signal that the good times are about to roll.

But sometimes you forget to pack a corkscrew in your picnic basket and you long for a more convenient screw-top.

Happily, South African wine lovers can now have it both ways, as the Helix from cork supplier Amorim makes inroads into the local wine market.

“Cork is all abut heritage,” says Joaquim Sá, managing director of Amorim South Africa. “It’s about tradition, it’s about the ritual of opening a good bottle of wine. But, we also couldn’t ignore that ongoing demand for convenience. That was the rationale behind the Helix.”

In a four-year project Amorim worked with O-I, the world’s largest wine bottle manufacturer, to create a unique bottle that features a glass thread inside the neck of the bottle. Matched by a thread on the moulded cork, the cork can be removed with a simple twist and pull – no corkscrew required – and the bottle can be resealed just as easily.

While the Helix launched in 2013, and first came to South Africa in 2015, the need for bottles to be imported has held back demand from local winemakers. That changed last year, when Consol glass began producing the patented bottle under license, and “we’re now seeing growing adoption of the Helix,” adds Joaquim, who has also had interest from olive oil and Cape Port producers.

Aimed at wines that are unlikely to spend longer than 18 months on a wine rack, here are three favourite picks for wines whose corks are sure to deliver an unexpected twist:

PROTEA SAUVIGNON BLANC

The entire Protea range from the Anthonij Rupert cellar in Franschhoek uses the Helix closure, but the fresh acidity and bright gooseberry, guava and passion fruit notes in this Sauvignon Blanc make it the one to pick this summer.

KRONE CHARDONNAY PINOT NOIR

The first wine in the southern hemisphere to use the Helix closure, this popular style of blend is a food-friendly option for lazy lunches.

MENSA CABERNET SAUVIGNON

A deliciously approachable Cabernet from Overhex Wines, the palate packed with chocolate, blackberry and spice. Make the most of those last chilly evenings with a glass of this.

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