The resealable Helix cork has slashes down its sides which allow it to screw into a glass wine bottle with a similar thread on the inside.
The development is the result of four-years of trials by cork giant Amorim and glass packaging firm O-I, who were looking for a solution to the vexed industry question of cork versus screw cap.
Helix launched at trade show Vinexpo this week, and is being targeted at producers of still wine retailing at between €5 and €10, which is a 4.5bn bottle sector, Amorim head of communications Carlos de Jesus told FoodProductionDaily.com.
De Jesus commented: “The reaction is very positive, we have 5,000 sample bottles here and I think we might run out. Helix has great resonance with consumers. Wine is very aspirational and this is brand building convenience packaging. This is the most sensible reformulation of packaging ever.”
He explained that industry statistics suggest that around 70% of wines are sold in bottles with natural corks, around 10% with synthetic corks, a declining sector, and around 20% in screw cap bottles.
The Helix was initially being launched in France, Italy, Portugal, and Spain, where corks were very prevalent.
Helix can be quickly and easily implemented by wineries with only a minor adjustment to the existing filling lines and involved minimal cost premium, de Jesus said.
He commented: “We do not want the cost of materials to position Helix outside its target market; we want it to be a competitive concept.”
In testing conducted by Amorim and O-I, wine packaged in Helix glass bottles with cork stoppers showed no alteration in terms of taste, aroma or colour.
As part of the development process, market research in France, UK, USA and China revealed great consumer acceptance of Helix for fast turnaround and popular premium wines, the companies report. In addition, consumers also appreciated retaining the festive ‘pop’ associated with opening a bottle of wine, they said.
A proven example
Erik Bouts, O-I European president, said: “Helix is a proven example of what can be achieved for consumers and the wine trade when the world’s leading companies in glass packaging and cork work together.”
The Helix concept combines all the benefits of cork and glass – quality, sustainability and premium image with user-friendly, re-sealable convenience, he added.
Antonio Amorim, chairman and CEO of Amorim said: “We are delighted to offer the market not only a 100% renewable, modern product, but also a solution that enhances the wine drinking experience through opening and resealing convenience.”
A spokeswoman for the Wine and Spirit Trade Association in the UK told this site: “It is down to the individual company what fixtures and fittings they want to use. We do not comment on this subject.”