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Glass "Corks" Anyone experienced this?


djsexyb
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i recently read an article in wine and spirts april 2006 about the up and coming closures made of glass. they are basically a glass mushroom cork with an o ring that makes an air-tight seal. it is head down by the foiling when packaged.

Has anyone had wine closed in this manner? any comments?

the author states that more than 100 producers are using what is known as the Vino-Lock closure (VinTegra closure in the US). seems like a good idea. looks better than the screwcap that i perticularly love for its many benefits.

Comments?

Grand Cru Productions

Private High End Dinners and Personal Chef Service

in Chicago, Illinois

For more information email me at:

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Assuming we're referring to the same thing, German firms have used such a glass stopper for a while, though it is still novel. (Of course, it has an exact specification in the DIN, the deutsche Industrie Normen, and fits into the bottle with impressive precision.) It resembles the traditional laboratory ground-glass bottle stopper but smooth-sided. The sealling ring is a thin, clear, flat plastic ring, providing a soft air-tight interface between the stopper flange (mushroom top) and bottle glass.

I first saw it at a US tasting of German wines circa 2004, and have encountered it occasionally since. It's one sure way to avoid biochemical problems with cork, TCA mainly. As you know if you know this subject well, industry acknowledges some 4-8% of premium cork-closed wines routinely spoiled by these faults. (My own blind-tasting statistics in recent years, a few thousand bottles, support those percentages by the way.)

[Edited to restore a missing "t"]

Edited by MaxH (log)
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this has been in the works for a while, as MaxH notes.

the Vino-Lok stoppers are nothing short of brilliant, and not just for their TCA-free properties. i've encountered 'em in several German rieslings and spatburgunders; they work great for resealing the riesling and keeping it fresh for a week or more in the fridge. (plus the empty bottles make for great water containers at table.)

in March i noticed that Oregon's Sineann has begun sealing its higher-end red wines with the stoppers, and some Californians have since followed suit.

way better than screwcaps (at least aesthetically) and a trend i'd be perfectly happy to see continue.

[edited to add a missing verb]

Edited by jbonne (log)
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Excuse my ignorance, but how does one extract a glass 'cork'?

Liam

Eat it, eat it

If it's gettin' cold, reheat it

Have a big dinner, have a light snack

If you don't like it, you can't send it back

Just eat it -- Weird Al Yankovic

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It should reseal better than screwcap right? I'm not certain but I've always been afraid to leave a resealed screwcap bottle on its side in case of leakage.

why would you wnat to keep a screwcaped bottle on its side, especially after inintially opening? you should be drinking that wine within a week anyway, just store it in the fridge standing up.

"Excuse my ignorance, but how does one extract a glass 'cork'?"

from what i have read, you take the foil off (any maybe a plastic spacer) reveiling the glass cork, then it merely pops right off (think how a mushroom cork works).

Edited by djsexyb (log)

Grand Cru Productions

Private High End Dinners and Personal Chef Service

in Chicago, Illinois

For more information email me at:

grandcruproductions@hotmail.com

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would the rubber in the sealing ring affect the wine at all?

Sean

i thought of this too and since it doe snot come into contact with the wine at all, just the top of the bottle for sealing purposes, i would say no.

i am wondering however how the rubber would stand up to 20-40 years of cellaring, would it deteriorate at all, if so that may be a problem, anyone have any comments?

Grand Cru Productions

Private High End Dinners and Personal Chef Service

in Chicago, Illinois

For more information email me at:

grandcruproductions@hotmail.com

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First the flat gasket is of some very carefully chosen transparent synthetic plastic. (It was named specifically, I think, by the person who introduced it at the tasting I attended in 04 but at this point I forget.) I know that such materials today are highly developed (for instance, you can select them to pass or block this or that wavelength of light, pass or block alpha particles, for thermal expansion properties of choice, etc.). So I don't doubt that fully flavor-neutral materials are available.

Second the "extraction" is very convenient. You just pull it off. The plastic gasket and the close-fitting stopper and bottle (in samples I've handled) stick securely together when the capsule first is unwrapped. Then you remove the stopper and can replace it securely when ready.

My first impression when handling these things was that they are heavier than corks; the second was that they are convenient to open and even better for re-corking a partially used bottle. Lastly that they seemed to be rather fine and durable pieces of work to be used up after the bottle is empty. That may reflect the prejudice of seeing cork for many years, and also, of course they and the bottle are made of the same stuff (German: Stoff).

Anyone who didn't see it already will want to review the related Corked-Wines Thread active recently. Including Bleudauvergne's eloquent testimonial on the cruel let-down of carefully stored, magnificent wines that prove to be ruined by cork taint. That's a frustration shared by many wine enthusiasts as you can also gather from the thread.

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why would you wnat to keep a screwcaped bottle on its side, especially after inintially opening? you should be drinking that wine within a week anyway, just store it in the fridge standing up.

I was thinking of putting it in my bag to take to a party.

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rubber ring: inert synthetic, as MaxH notes. some models do have a rubber ring, but neither part comes in contact with the wine (that i can recall, i have to take another look). as to aging, it's a toss-up, but no more so than with screwcaps or even cork. but it's also worth me asking Alcoa next time i ping them.

opening: think like a T-top, but slightly easier since it's tapered. and it generally snaps on and off with a satisfying thwack thanks to the snug O-ring. one thumb under the lip is generally enough to open, and one thumb on top to close. it's far more graceful than a T-top or screwcap. in fact, ease of use was one of its biggest selling points to me.

on its side: was never an issue for us in several weeks of storing the bottles (full of water) on their sides in the fridge. (and yes, it's a valid issue for those of us with smaller fridges.) no leaking whatsoever. certainly more than i can say for recorked wines.

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why would you wnat to keep a screwcaped bottle on its side, especially after inintially opening? you should be drinking that wine within a week anyway, just store it in the fridge standing up.

I was thinking of putting it in my bag to take to a party.

gotcha, yea i see your point, ive store3d screwcaps on their side without leakage. if you are worried about it in your bag, id throw it in a plastic bag first just to be safe and make sure that cap in really on there.

Grand Cru Productions

Private High End Dinners and Personal Chef Service

in Chicago, Illinois

For more information email me at:

grandcruproductions@hotmail.com

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I have just tried an Austrian Riesling with a glass stopper. The price was around $20. which is typical for wine I expect to match to seafood, at home.

The quality of the stopper was impressive, and I will definitely look for other bottles.

It is preferable to the screw caps on similarly priced Australian and New Zealand dry whites, although I have not had any problems with them. It's just a nicer closure, more esthethic, and would look good in initial presentation.

But it may be somewhat more expensive.

I would like to know the relative costs of cork, plastic, Stelvin, and glass stopper, though this information may be hard to get.

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why would you wnat to keep a screwcaped bottle on its side, especially after inintially opening? you should be drinking that wine within a week anyway, just store it in the fridge standing up.

I was thinking of putting it in my bag to take to a party.

Actually, I always keep a couple of well-rinsed screw capped empties around the house for use as a transport receptacle, typically to take on a boat and go sailing. Not advisable for your best wines, but perfectly acceptable for a picnic or other event where a tight seal is needed to keep you from spilling the goods.

As for the glass, it would be similar. I've had wine from such a bottle at a bar one evening but I've forgotten the winery. The bartender indicated they were seeing more and more of them. A properly design o-ring seal, such as these, should have very long lives for re-use or re-sealing.

Stephen Bunge

St Paul, MN

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  • 2 years later...

We just opened a gift bottle of Burrell School "Old School" cab (2006) last night and it had a glass mushroom-shaped stopper - no o-ring or gasket at all. Cute little thing. We had no need of it, since we finished the bottle, but we kept it to see if it would work in another bottle.

I'd heard of glass stoppers, but this was the first time I've seen one. I checked their website and found the wine, but there was no mention of the stopper - other Burrell School wines we've had have had regular cork stoppers.

Interesting.

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Oops. I must correct myself. Upon closer (and perhaps more sober) inspection, I see that this glass "cork" in fact does have a little clear plastic collar. And it turns out it doesn't make a seal with other wine bottles.

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