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Glass stoppers prevent oxidation

Alternative Bottle Closure Glass StopperIgnoring the wine etiquette rule of removing the foil before opening a bottle, I reached for the corkscrew and plunged it into the cork. Or attempted to. I was immediately faced with humility as I was once again introduced to the up-and-coming wine closure, the glass stopper. Picture the cork stopper on some high-end spirits, such as Scotch, but in place of cork, the stopper is made of glass.

The glass closure is one of the many options as the great cork debate continues. The closure, similar to a decorative decanter stopper, was developed as an alternative to the traditional cork and synthetic closures. It has been in use since 2003, mostly in Europe.

Unlike decorative stoppers, which often don’t provide an airtight seal, the Vino-Seal or Vino-Lok made by Alcoa uses an inert O-ring to provide a sterile seal, preventing cork taint contamination or oxidation.

The new closure brings a higher price tag than traditional cork due to its relatively high cost of production and this is why you may only see it used on higher-end premium wines. But the pioneers using this closure believe natural corks will become a thing of the past.

I would welcome the arrival of the glass stopper in more brands available to consumers. It makes perfect sense for not only battling the continuing quandary of cork taint but it’s the “no corkscrew needed” that is a big plus. You simply score the foil around the bottom of the drop ring on the bottle, and then pull the stopper. Another bonus: Wines can safely be aged standing up.

THE VALUE

  • 2009 Calera Central Coast Pinot Noir, California (about $17 retail)

THE SPLURGE

  • 2009 Bravante Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc, California (about $23 retail)