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Metal screwcap wine bottle closures were first introduced in the 1990’s by Australia.

Answer: False.

The first patent on twist cap technology was granted in 1858 to John Landis Mason (yup, the Mason jar) for a zinc twist cap. However, wine’s high acidity is corrosive to metal, making the screwcap a poor choice for sealing wine bottles. It wasn’t until the 1960’s when the French company Le Bouchage Mécanique in Chalon-sur-Saône, Burgundy invented an aluminum twist cap with a non-reactive underside, that the technology gained traction with the wine industry. The Swiss were among the early adopters, using the closure to bottle chasselas, a white wine that was particularly subject to cork taint. It wasn’t until the late 1990s, as Australia was experiencing rapid growth in its wine industry and a subsequent shortage of corks, that screw caps were used in significant volume and the successful results shared with the world. At that time, the Australian Wine Research Institute (AWRI) published the findings of their groundbreaking closure trial, which showed how well the screwcap retained wine’s freshness and prevented cork taint. So it would be more accurate to say that it was the Australians who threw their weight behind promoting the screwcap internationally and helped dispel the idea that screwcaps were only fit for low quality wines. Today, an estimated 5 billion full-size bottles a year are sealed this way.

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