Glass Wine Corks

August 28, 2011 33 Comments

Glass Wine Corks

Glass Wine Corks – What Will They Think of Next

We had to evacuate our beach vacation on Friday and made it through Hurricane Irene last night safely although our power went out this morning. I wanted to follow up from my last post about dinner at Quahog’s Seafood Shack in Stone Harbor, NJ.

With everything from octopus ceviche to barbecued Pacu Pacu fish ribs to a Brazilian version of cioppino called Moqueca on the menu, that is story enough and if you didn’t see it, you can read the post at Dining Out in Stone Harbor.

But that’s not what I want to tell you about today.  The real surprise of the night came when the waiter uncorked the bottle of Calera Chardonnay that we’d brought with us and presented us with something that looked a bit like a glass drawer pull.  It was actually the “cork!”

Now, I’m familiar with synthetic corks, and I’ve even gotten used to screw tops on nice bottles of wine, but this is the first time I’d ever seen a class cork.  I did a little research and it turns out that its official name is Vino Seal, and it’s produced by Alcoa.  It first came on the scene in 2003 in Europe, and some American winemakers began using it for some of their wines as early as 2006.

Glass Cork

Advantages of a Glass Cork

There are a couple of really nice things about the Vino Seal.  For one, it looks a bit like a regular decanter stopper, which is kind of cool.  It certainly looks much nicer than a plastic cork or a screw top.  Maybe I’m a bit old school, but I really do like natural cork.  I also realize that, while natural cork has been in use the longest and is the most accepted wine closure, it is not always the best choice.

Since cork is an agricultural product–the thick, spongy bark taken from a living tree–there are some down sides to its use.  For one, sometimes the phenols present in cork can react with the wine, causing cork taint.  Wines that are “corked.”  In short, mold forms and contaminates the wine. Sometimes the wine can smell or taste like mildew, but other times, the wine just might taste a little. “off.”  Regardless, anywhere from 5-10% of wines sealed with natural cork can end up with cork taint.

Since the Vino Seal is made of smooth glass, there is no chance of its interacting with the wine in any way.  The seal part of the Vino Seal is achieved with a small O-ring under the lip of the stopper.  This creates a hermetic, or air-tight, seal.

Another plus of the Vino Seal is that it is reusable.  If for some reason you don’t finish your bottle of wine, just reinsert the stopper into the bottle.  The O-ring again creates the seal, and you can finish your bottle the next day.  You can’t do that with natural or synthetic corks, because to pull a cork, you have to basically drill a hole all the way through it with your cork screw.

Vino Seal glass cork

Wines that are sealed with almost any closure other than natural cork do not have to be stored on their sides.  Natural cork needs to be kept moist to maintain the tight seal.  Store your wine upright for too long, and the cork dries out, shrinks and then there goes your seal.  While this is a plus for the Vino Seal, it can also be a minus.  The foil that covers the seal and the neck of the bottle helps to maintain the air-tight seal. So, when unopened, you can store the wine either lying down or upright, but once you open the bottle, it is best to keep it upright to prevent any minor leaking.

Overall, I think that the Vino Seal is a pretty elegant solution to wine closure.  And while this very cool, classy way to seal wine is still seen primarily in German and South African wines, it is already taking hold here in the United States, with wineries in both Washington State and Napa Valley, California trying out the Vino Seal on some of their wines.

Oh, one more downside of the Vino Seal?  You can’t play the cork came where you drop the cork on the table and see who can get it to stand on end in the fewest tries.  It’s a small price to pay to end up with such an elegant wine stopper, so maybe I’ll just start carrying an old cork in my pocket, just in case we get the urge to play the cork game.

Have You Come Across A Glass Wine Cork Lately?

I’m interested to know how many of you have see this new type of wine closure and what wines are you finding it on. Please let me know in the comments section.

 

 

Last modified on Fri 20 December 2013 9:38 pm

Filed in: Wine & Alcohol

Comments (33)

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  1. Linda F. W. says:

    We came across our first glass cork in a bottle of Bugay Long Stem Rose (Sonoma). It is quite elegant and allowed us to close up the bottle with half remaining with no problem at all. Seems like a great idea finally happening.

  2. Eve V. says:

    2009 Grey Stack Sauv Blanc love it!

  3. Joe L. says:

    I was startled by one in a 2009 Utopia viognier. (Utopia is an amazing small winery in Oregon.) I’m glad I didn’t try to pry it out with a corkscrew! The sound and feel of it is the most elegant alternative to cork.

  4. K. Dragovich says:

    Nero D’Avalo by Cusumano – The glass stopper was such a nice little surprise and gave us much to talk about.

  5. W. Pfeffer says:

    I was also startled by the glass cork. It took a couple minutes for me to understand what I was trying to uncork! The Bravante Sauvignon Blanc is fabulous and the glass cork makes it even more elegant.

  6. Dennis says:

    We live in the rhinegau here in Germany (like Napa Ca) and this glass cork is pretty much standard here. I like it because you can close up your unused nectar and drink it tomorrow. It really works well for all the Rieseling we drink… Yum

  7. Pat says:

    Anyone know when I can buy these glass corks???

  8. Phil says:

    Found my first one today! 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon from Johnson Estate Winery, Westfield NY

  9. Donetta says:

    What a shock. Found the glass stopper on a bottle of Red Remy Wine from McMinneville, OR. I like the idea of being able to recap the bottle and not loose any of the flavors of the wine.

  10. Nicole Best says:

    Yes -we have come across a glass wine top. I honestly dont remember the wine it came from but we reuse the topper on other wines we want to cover. I wish I could remember the wine -good marketing would to have the name etched on the top because I probably would have bought it again. Also, I think it adds a touch of class or richness to the experience of opening a nice bottle of wine.

  11. Janet K. says:

    We don’t drink a lot of wine, but someone gifted me a bottle or Suhr Luchtel cabernet sauv and I decided to save it for Thanksgiving. Imagine my surprise when, after searching the house for my wine “uncorker” (I told you I don’t drink much wine!), I took off the foil and saw something I’d never seen before. A glass cork. What I really liked about it was that I was able to uncork without an opener! And was able to cork it back up to finish the next day. I give the glass cork a “thumbs up”!

  12. Claude Martimbeau says:

    Good morning,

    I just open a sicilian wine -NERO D’AVENO- with that type of seal.
    The wine was also good.

    Thank you,
    Claude Martimbeau

  13. Catherine Chandler says:

    Came across our first vino seal ever tonight in a bottle of R Stuart 2008 Pinot Noir

  14. John W says:

    There is a vineyard in Virgina, Glass House, that uses the glass cork on all the bottles.

  15. Eva Gold says:

    It is quite common here in Austria with Austrian wines! I quite like it personally, and find it a bit more sophisticated than the regular screw top wines without corks.

  16. Judy says:

    Cusumano, Nero d’avila, Sicilian…..
    Fun … In Vermont and the inn we are staying at gave us a complimentary bottle of wine. So good.
    We make wine and beer and never saw this before.

  17. Amie Spengler says:

    Husband and I just opened a bottle of Cristom Viognier Estate 2007 from Oregon that had a glass cork. We are not frequent wine drinkers, more beer people, but this was lovely and I am pleased to know that we can re-use the cork!

  18. Donna Hellman says:

    Also in a Sicilian: Cusumano Insolia. Now I’ll be watching for it in the Nero d’Avola we’ll be opening tonight!

  19. Victor Couwenbergh says:

    Scaia 2013, an Italian wine from Veneto. A beautiful blend of Garganega and Chadonnay.

  20. Mike A says:

    Invetro Toscana 2010 Italian red wine

  21. matthew says:

    I have seen a few of these over the years but only on Austrian and European imports, specifically the Salomon Stein Kogl Riesling from Austria. there is an elegant simplicity to these stoppers that I enjoy, and in conjunction with the WINESAVE argon gas they work as an excellent cork substitute for other bottled wines

  22. Oakville Cross Cabernet, one of the many great wines in our portfolio, utilizes the vino seal.

  23. Edward Woods says:

    I am sure the glass stopper is sufficient to cork a bottle of wine, but vineyards need to consider packaging when shipping glass corked bottles.

    My summer allocation from R Sinskey Vineyards came yesterday, and one of the bottles was leaking. This was most likely due to a combination of factors: 1) molded paper shipping spacers, and 2) transport. It appears as though handling from the shipper (FedEx in this case) between the dock, truck and my doorstep was enough to ‘bump’ the cork, breaking the seal.

    If a vineyard is to use this technology and ship wine to their members, one should consider styrofoam shipping cradles to firmly secure the bottle in the shipping box.

    Cheers!

  24. Gill Cutterham says:

    just opened a wine we bought in Castell Miquel in Mallorca and it has a glass cork, wonderful idea..

  25. Gay Mollette says:

    Encountered my first glass “cork” this evening in Cusumano Nero D’Avola 2012, an Italian red imported by Terlato Wines.

  26. Janell says:

    I found one in Cusumano Syrah…what a fun surprise it was. I’m trying to think of fun ways to reuse those fun corks.

  27. Evelyn says:

    I just found my first wine cork in an Italian wine from Veneto, which is a nice, smooth medium bodied wine: Tenuta Sant’Antonio Scaia Corvina 2013

  28. Jim Franklin says:

    Bought a bottle of Gerard Bertrand Cote des Roses at Costo. BEEEAUtiful bottle & product. Wine wasn’t bad, as it turned out, either. We just put together 60 gallons of rose and I thought the bottling in ‘this’ bottle would be outstanding. It’s just gorgeous. However, the only item I can locate is ‘the cork,’ in this case a glass cork. I like the idea, as it gets away from synthetic/short term/long term, 3 different corking machines, and so on. If you’ve a lead on the bottle (which has a rose embedded in the bottom) I would really like to hear where it might be purchased.

    thanks

    franklin

  29. Michelle Nystrom says:

    Tonight I opened a lovely 2014 Chateau De Fabregues Grenache/Syrah blend Rose from the Rhone region of France. To my delight it had a glass cork! I only read of them in my Certified Wine Professional studies.

    Nice surprise! Love it!

  30. dick says:

    Been drinking wine for years and finally saw one with a glass cork. Seems superior and classier to any of the alternatives, even cork, given the silicone is of high quality.

    Now why not go to 100% glass on glass fittings, as in scientific glass equipment? This would enable the wine to age in a 100% glass environment with no exposure to plastics, cork, silicone, or other agents which will, invariably, on some scale alter the taste.

  31. Faye says:

    On a wine-tasting in SE France, off a river cruise, the bottles had glass corks. They gave the corks they used to us! I wish I’d gotten dozens! I love using them to re-cork wine. It lets the bottles stand upright in my refrigerator door shelf. Sorry I don’t remember the name, Chateau “something” I think. I’m going to try to buy some.

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