Wine Closures Replace Cork

- -

Facing increasing demand and quality control issues with traditional corks, fine winemakers were seeking alternate wine closures. Alcoa Deutschland developed the Vino-Lok glass stopper, which uses a sealing ring made of Dow Elvax®. This eliminated the risk of “corked wine,” since neither the glass nor Elvax® produces an aftertaste or odor.

The Challenge

While “corked” wine has always been an issue for winemakers, growing demand for bottled wine has increased demand for cork. In recent years, supply has not kept up with demand, and cork quality has often suffered as a result. This increased the level of issues related to wine closures, a particularly unacceptable situation for premium wine producers, for whom flavor and quality are paramount.

Alcoa-Deutschland responded to this situation by adapting for commercial production an idea inspired by the stoppers and bottles used by pharmacies generations ago. Made of glass, the Vino-Lok was designed to create premium wine closures without using cork. But creating a tight air seal required finding a high performance, neutral material to replace cork.

The Solution

Vino-Lok, made of glass tempered at 500°C, then pressed and boiled, provides a premium feel and an airtight seal created by using Elvax® ethylene vinyl acetate copolymer resin.

Fitted securely in a circular groove on the glass stopper, the sealing ring is virtually unobtrusive due to its transparency and seals the bottle tightly. The highly-elastic, durable, halogen- and plasticizer-free polymer is insoluble in alcohol and resistant to weak acids and other wine constituents.

Vino-Lok is aesthetically pleasing and can be easily opened without the use of other implements. The stopper is pulled out by hand and sits tightly in the bottle when reinserted. The Vino-Lok has been widely accepted by fine wine and spirit makers worldwide – the highest possible compliment from customers for whom presentation and taste are everything.

Key Advantages

Thanks to using Elvax® in its wine closures, Vino-Lok gives wine producers a cost-effective cork alternative and gives wine lovers an easy way to enjoy a high-quality vintage anytime. Advantages include:

  • Improved production: With its inherent flexibility, the Elvax® sealing rings can be pulled over the glass stoppers securely and reliably during an automated production process.
  • Absolutely no aftertaste: Elvax® has been used for many years in the bottle screw caps of taste-sensitive mineral water with the same success.
  • Long-lasting reliability: Elvax® prevents sticking in the bottleneck, so the Vino-Lok glass plug can be easily removed without extra force, even after years of storage.
  • No PVCs or interaction with wine and spirits – Elvax® is completely neutral and will not abrade glass bottles.

Commenting on Vino-Lok wine closures, Dr. Alex Michalsky from the German wine-growing estate St. Antony, Nierstein said: “Corking and leakage will be a thing of the past. This really is an attractive stopper which complements the fine contents of the bottles.”