From the traditional cork to the elegant glass.

From the traditional cork to the elegant glass.

May 30, 2022


Ilaria Rosa

Starting our journey through the history of corks, we certainly cannot fail to mention, albeit very quickly in this article (on our blog there is an entire article dedicated to this product), the cork or the raw material of which the most corks are made. used, especially in Italy. THECork is the material par excellence, the most used for all those white, red and complex wines for aging, which require micro-oxygenation for their evolution in the bottle.

Let's leave the cork and talk about another type of cork: the synthetic, made up entirely of materials of a chemical nature: elastomers and polyolefins. To these two macro categories are added expanding agents that allow the cork to have the elasticity suitable for being introduced into the neck of the bottle. The elastomers, also composed of "butadiene and styrene", are synthetic rubbers that ensure the seal, without compromising the internal structure of the cap.

In this production system of synthetic caps we have the extrusion one, in which the mixed and dissolved raw materials are drawn through a hole with the diameter of the finished product. After cooling, the compound is cut, ground by chamfering and lubricated to facilitate the entry and exit of the cap. This type of closure is ideal for still or slightly wavy young wines, bottled for a limited period (from 8 to 12 months).

The first appearances of the screw cap, also called sterling, date back to the period dating back to the 1950s, a type used to close bottles. The composition of these caps is no longer what it once was, today the external structure, in aluminum, holds a waterproof insulating gasket made up of a polylaminate formed by three layers: the external one is in expanded polyethylene; the internal one is made up of a film for food use; and finally the intermediate is in tin.

The only material to come into contact with the wine is the synthetic resin film secured to the neck of the bottle by means of the threaded cap, thus guaranteeing a total absence of external contamination. The screw cap was mainly used since the 70s especially in those countries where obtaining cork was difficult even if unfortunately, it was often associated with poor quality wines. Recently, many producers have re-evaluated the potential of this closure by using it also for their most prestigious bottles; this typology is in fact an excellent solution also for aging wines, but not congenial for corkscrew lovers.

Albana di Romagna Secco IGT - Isola - produced by the Emilian Winery Balia di Zola it is a wine capable of representing very well the qualities that this type of cork possesses. A white that encompasses passion, competence and a great desire to enhance, characteristics that guide the owners of the Balia di Zola winery and that pour into their high quality wines that are expressed at high levels and that today, are increasingly established.

The crown cap was patented in Baltimore in 1892 by William Painter, who shortly thereafter founded the Crown Cork An Seal Company, a cap manufacturing company. This cap consists of a notched metal capsule that clings to the mouth of the bottle (rim) and, thanks to a cork gasket located under the metal part, ensures a watertight seal. A manual or mechanical capping machine is used to lock the closure to the rim. In the second half of the 1960s, unscrewable crown caps were created in America and, after a few years, the cork gasket was also replaced with a plastic one. In combination with the latter, there is the possibility of applying or not, the bidule, that is a sort of virgin polyethylene shutter (PVC free) that provides a perfect adherence to the neck of the bottle.

This combination offers several advantages, it is in fact increasingly used in the refermentation processes of the classic method in the bottle where the bidule is in fact used to collect the lees and exhausted yeasts in the bottles placed upside down; it will then be eliminated after disgorging. The crown is also often used as an additional block to the cork in highly carbonated and sparkling wines, but it is in the world of carbonated drinks and beers that its invention has brought about a real revolution by extending their life cycle and guaranteeing the maximum pressure seal and the best airtightness.

If you are curious to try this type of closure, we suggest you try the Sparkling Ancestral White - Icaro produced by Cantina Rocca le Caminate. A wine produced with the ancestral method, a practice that it has very ancient origins and was generally used in the Champagne area; it consists in a light pressing of the grapes necessary for the extraction of the indigenous yeasts present in the peel of the bunches, followed by fermentation in stainless steel at controlled temperatures; the wine thus obtained enjoys a unique taste and greater organoleptic complexity.

Last but not least, let's see the glass stopper: ecological, elegant, sterile and pure. This was patented by a company from the Czech Republic and has long since entered the bottling of many prominent wineries. It consists of a glass body, a small silicone ring to ensure the seal and an aluminum capsule to block everything. It has been defined as an excellent alternative to cork, which is increasingly difficult to find, but it is not suitable for all types of wine but only for young ones that do not have to evolve in the bottle.

The glass stopper seems to have a very successful future, above all because it is immune to the action of time; the only obstacle, however, seems to be the not very low cost of the material, of the bottling plant and also the need to have special patented bottles. Consumers appreciate the ease of opening and the ability to easily close the bottle once opened.

Clar Delune Rosato DOC Friuli Grave produced by the Piera Martellozzo Winery that just dresses un'elegant glass stopper that gives class and refinement to a wine born in one night of April, when the founder is ecstatic and fascinated by the great Pink Moon and decides to enclose her emotions in an extraordinary wine with a rosy color like the celestial star from which she was literally conquered.

In conclusion, we have seen how each cork has its pros and cons, therefore it remains up to the producer to choose which is the best solution for his wine to enhance it to the fullest.

Leave a comment