Monday, December 18, 2006

The Vino-Seal

Over the past few years, several types of stoppers have emerged as alternatives to the traditional wine cork. Many of us are familiar with synthetic corks, which are becoming fairly commonplace, as well as screwtop enclosures, often associated with the cheap wine from our college days. (Night Train, anyone?)

The January 2007 issue of Bon Appetit has a short article on the Vino-Seal, a glass stopper with a sealing o-ring. This innovative stopper, created by the German subsidiary of Alcoa, forms a very tight seal with the bottle, preventing cork taint and oxidation. It is very easy to open, without requiring a separate opener, and reseals very nicely. Several different U.S. wine producers are using the Vino-Seal, including Whitehall Lane in Napa and Sineann Winery in Oregon. I first encountered this award-winning gadget during one of my trips to Europe, where it is known as the Vino-Lok. I still have several bottles of wine from Weingut Heitlinger in my wine rack sealed with the Vino-Lok.

It seems that the Vino-Seal has not been as widely adopted as other types of stoppers due to the cost of the stopper itself as well as the labor costs in manually sealing the bottles. However, if these cost issues can be resolved, I think that we might see more and more wineries using the Vino-Seal in the future.