Alcoa begins US production of new wine closure

Related tags Wine Alcoa

In the US, Alcoa Closure Systems International has begun the
commerciallaunch of VinTegra, its new closure system for wine
bottles as an alternative tocorks and synthetic stoppers.

Alcoa​ will supply the new closures to selected NorthAmerica winery partners, for initial use in their premium wines. The new system, alreadyin commercial production in Europe under the trade name Vino-Lok, will offer the wineindustry a high quality and elegant alternative to traditional wine closure systems.

"The VinTegra closure system fills an urgent need in the wine industry, which has soughtan alternative to natural cork that meets both the quality and aesthetic demands ofconnoisseurs,"​ said Tony Smith, marketing director, Alcoa CSI North America. "TheVinTegra system has successfully completed exhaustive testing by some of the mostrespected independent wine technical institutions in Europe,"​ Smith said.

VinTegra iscurrently undergoing tests in the US and South Africa.The VinTegra closure looks like a decorative decanter stopper, and it is recyclable.Made with flexible O-rings, the stopper provides a sterile seal, which the company claims helpt to preven contaminationor oxidation. An aluminum over-cap and traditional neck sleeve aim tol ensure mechanicalprotection and tamper evidence.

The VinTegra glass stopper is the first product in a larger portfolio of wine closures thatAlcoa CSI is currently developing as an alternative to traditional wine stoppers.

The company says that a one-year independent test recently conducted by scientists and wine experts from theGeisenheim Institute for Applied Enological Sciences and theOppenheim/Rheinhessen State Teaching and Testing Institute indicates that Alcoa CSI'sVinTegra closure system meets parameters for technical as well as taste performancecompared to traditional wine closures.

It is this that makes Alcoa confident that its new device can overcome cork taint. The number of wine bottles affected by cork taint is difficult to assess, with figures put at anywhere between 1 per cent (a figure cited by the cork industry) and 15 per cent (a more anecdotal figure based on winemakers' own perceptions), but no matter how high the exact figure is, the problem is one which plagues wine marketers the world over.

The problem of wine taint has been tackled in many ways, the most obvious and widespread of which is the use of screw caps or synthetic stoppers. But while this is one way of significantly reducing the problem, consumer acceptance of such closures remains mixed.

Wine taint is caused by TCA - 2,4,6-trichloroanisole- the naturally occurring compound that is responsible for the mouldy, musty taste and odour of corked wine.

Some countries appear to have less of a hang-up about using new synthetic closures. Many New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs now came with screw caps, and are seen as fitting the 'fresh' image of the wines themselves, less staid than their European equivalents. But it appears that most European consumers still prefer their wine with a cork.

Alcoa believes that the Vino-Lok can find the middle ground between cork and synthetic stoppers. The concept has already won a Worldstar Award for Packaging Excellence, an award sponsored by the World Packaging Organisation.

Related topics R&D Beer, Wine, Spirits, Cider

Related news