Reusable wine cork reopens closure debate





The Helix wine cork is endeavouring to finally end the lengthy debate over the merits of cork or screw-top wine by combining the two.

The twistable, re-sealable version of the original wine cork has a thread finish that allows drinkers to twist the stopper open and closed again, creating an airtight barrier akin to the traditional cork enclosure. It comes with a bottle which has a matching thread, so it can be tightly resealed to keep the contents fresh.

The design - which is the result of a four-year collaboration between Portuguese manufacturer Amorim, the world’s largest wine cork manufacturer, and US company O-I, the biggest global maker of glass containers - is being unveiled today at the International VinExpo wine fair in Bordeaux. The concept is expected to be launched in retailers across Europe within the next two years and will target the increasing £5 to £10 market.

Following taste tests carried out in the UK, US, Australia and China, the companies involved in the Helix cork suggests the new concept tastes no different to wine stored in a classic bottle and more importantly nuances used by critics to judge wine, such as colour and smell, remain unaffected by the corkage.

A spokesman said: “It offers all of the ease of opening and closing that screw caps offer, but with totally natural eco-friendly materials. It also has the maturing benefits that natural cork brings to wine.

“It can be quickly and easily implemented by wineries with only a minor adjustment to the existing filling lines.”

Unlike the vast majority of other devices designed to keep wine fresh after opening, the Helix cork can also be used for champagne. According to the manufacturers, the Helix cork is so effective that a partially empty bottle of sparkling wine or champagne will still produce that distinctive ‘pop’ upon opening.

Antonio Amorim, chairman of the 140 year old family company and supplier of traditional corks to 82 countries, said: “Helix meets consumers’ growing desire for sustainability and quality.

“We are delighted to offer not only a 100 per cent renewable, modern product, but also a solution that enhances the wine drinking experience.”

O-I Europe president Erik Bouts believes the results of the extensive testing of wine stored in Helix bottles and the subsequent consumer research shows there is likely to be an “overwhelming acceptance” of the Helix system.

“For centuries, cork and glass has been a winning combination in the wine market, yet it is only through this partnership that we have been able to create such a major innovation in the industry.”
Bouts added: “Cork is still by far the preferred stopper. Our research has found that at least 80% of consumers prefer the cork and glass combination for their wine.

“It has the highest-quality image in the market and now we have made it easier to use. And it is still the most sustainable option.”

Producers have increasingly embraced screw caps and plastic corks in an effort to limit the amount of wine that becomes “corked” - the musty, unpleasant taste that is caused by tainted cork. Screw caps and plastic corks have the capacity to form a tighter seal than their more traditional counterparts and this subsequently guarantees a better flavour for all but the more expensive wines. Wines at the premium end will often age better when marginally exposed to oxygen hence the reluctance, particularly by the French, to embrace newer closure methods.
 
 
 
 
 

Written by: Ben Moss

Ben Moss 

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