Calera introduces us to a new closure: Vino-Seal™.
For centuries, cork has been the standard closure for wines. In recent decades, both plastic and screw caps have made inroads into the market. In one of the more entertaining advertising campaigns, the Portuguese Cork Growers Association has promoted cork as a “green alternative” to others. After all, cork has zero carbon footprint (just like winemaking). But there’s a new guy on the scene that we just encountered the other day.
This was our first bottle from Calera in a few years, so we were anxious to try it. But we were amazed when our trusty corkscrew met resistance. Lots of resistance. On further inspection, the closure was glass!
It turns out that Alcoa invented, manufactures, and markets the Vino-Seal™. Introduced in Europe in 2003 as the Vino-Lok™, the first U.S. winery to make use of this technology was Whitehall Lane in the Napa Valley (2006). At $0.70 each, the Vino-Seal™ is relatively expensive, but we know winemakers who routinely spend more than that on super high quality corks. The real problem is that the darn things are made of glass. To date no one has been able to automate that part of the bottling process using Vino-Seal™. Until that happens, this interesting idea is likely to remain a curiosity used mainly on ultra-premium wines that are bottled more or less by hand.
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