Innovations and Trends in Winery Caps, Corks and Closures

cork person helping another cork person off a cork screw

By: Alyssa L. Ochs

Sealing up a bottle of wine with a cork or cap is one of the last things a wine producer does to prepare a finished product for consumers to enjoy. However, caps, corks and other types of closures should be much more than a final afterthought.

  The closure you choose for your wine preserves your precious creation and adds a sense of familiarity and distinction to your brand. The right closures prevent spoilage and oxidation, contribute to the desired aging process and enhance the design of your label. Even wineries that have been using the same closures since their first harvests may be interested to learn about innovations and trends in this industry, as well as sustainability initiatives that complement an eco-minded approach to winemaking.

  Here’s an update on what’s happening in the wine cap, cork, and closure industry to inspire your next bottling process.

Types of Wine Closures

  Natural cork is the most common and traditional type of wine closure, which gives bottles a classic and elegant look while adding subtle flavors to aging wine. Synthetic cork looks like natural cork but is made from plastic, which poses little or no risk of a potentially undesirable corky smell from trichloroanisole (TCA). Champagne and sparkling wine corks have elastic discs at the bottom and a mushroom shape. Agglomerate corks are made with granulates from natural cork production and can store wine for short periods of time in an affordable way. Meanwhile, capped corks combine natural and plastic materials to allow for the best of both worlds – limited oxygen interaction with the wine and an effective seal.

  Aside from corks, many wineries use caps to seal their wine bottles. Screw caps allow for easy opening and resealing while eliminating the risk of cork taint. You’ll often find wine bottles sealed with crown caps that are similar to the ones used on beer bottles. Crown caps are best for early consumption and most common with sparkling wines.

  A zork is a plastic, resealable wine closure with a top that peels off. It provides unique access to the wine and a good seal, but it’s best for wines that will be consumed promptly. A helix is a twist-off closure made from glass, offering a sense of elegance to premium wines. The company Vinolok offers glass closures with an original all-glass version, a duet of glass and wood, and collections of glass closures that come in creative, modern and playful shapes. Wine bottles can also be sealed with hermetic corks with a hinge and silicon enclosure. Hermetic corks are reusable and most commonly used after a bottle is opened so the remainder can be saved for later consumption.

Innovations in Wine Closures

  While screw caps used to be generally frowned upon in the upscale wine industry, they have been gaining popularity as viable alternatives to traditional cork. Screw caps provide reliable seals and consistent wine quality, and they do not present the risk of cork taint. Producers are getting creative with their screw caps by using attractive colors, designs and company logos.

  Similarly, significant improvements have recently been made in synthetic wine corks to help them more closely mimic the look and feel of natural corks. However, compared to natural cork, synthetic materials often allow for more consistent oxygen control and reduce the risk of wine tasting like the cardboard, wet newspaper, mold, or earthiness associated with cork taint. Although cork taint only affects a small percentage of bottles closed with natural cork, it is still a major concern in the industry.

  Another innovation in the industry is using nitrogen or argon gas preservation systems to help bottles stay fresh after opening. This innovation complements good wine closures to ensure freshness. Wineries can extend the life of bottles opened in their tasting rooms, and consumers can use them at home so they don’t feel obligated to finish entire bottles. You can now buy single-can, private wine preservers that deliver about 120 uses for about $10 to $20. The spray cans use inert nitrogen, argon and carbon dioxide to displace the oxygen that ruins wines to protect the freshness and flavor for days, months or even years.

Green Initiatives for Sustainability 

  However, some of the most exciting developments in wine closures make bottles eco-friendlier and more attractive to sustainability-minded consumers. One company, Vinventions, has been in business since 1999 and leads the way in innovative bottle closures. All Vinventions closures are manufactured with sustainability in mind and to help winemakers maintain control over the oxygen ingress after bottling.

  The company’s Green Line offers the first-ever certified zero-carbon footprint closure, with fully recyclable materials derived from sugarcane-based products. Its Blue Line products are recyclable and made with 50 percent raw materials from plastic recycling. Vinventions’ SÜBR closure is a polyurethane-free and taint-free micro-natural closure, and its Vintop screwcaps have multi-feature designs and liners for premium wines.

  Wineries may request samples of the closures on the Vinventions website to test them for their wines. The company aims to ensure that all of its closures are 100 percent recyclable, renewable or biodegradable by 2030, and it continues to invest in research and technology to improve product performance in the wine, spirits and olive oil industries.

Pros and Cons of Caps, Corks and Closures

  To help you make the best decision for your winery, here are the pros and cons of the most popular closure types to discuss with your team:

Natural Cork

Pros: • Adds subtle flavors to wine

• Recyclable, renewable and biodegradable

• Best for aging up to 10 to 25 years

• Traditional, ceremonial and romantic

Cons: • The potential of cork taint

• Variation in the consistency of corks

• Often cost more than screw caps

Synthetic Cork

Pros: • No cork taint risk like natural cork

• Durable with quality that has been improving recently.

• Affordable and cost-effective

Cons: • Public perception of them being for low-quality wines.

• Wine should be consumed within the first couple of years.

• Generally less effective seal than natural cork.

Composite Corks

Pros: • Consistent quality so the wine doesn’t taste moldy or musty.

• Adds elegance to high-end wines

• Cost-effective and affordable

• Made from renewable resources

Cons: • Costly for producers

• Not ideal for long-term aging

• Prone to breaking and crumbling

Screw Caps

Pros: • No risk of cork taint

• Easy opening and resealing

Cons: • It is not ideal for aging wine

• Best for early consumption

Crown Caps

Pros: • Easy to open

• Consistent and reliable seal

• Great for freshness and wine quality

Cons: • An unexpected closure among consumers

• Not ideal for all types of wine

• Limited aging potential

Glass Stoppers

Pros: • Attractive for luxury wines

• Distinguish your brand from competitors

• Reusable with an excellent seal

Cons: • More expensive than traditional closures

• It can be difficult to open

• It can allow in too much oxygen, damaging wine.


Pros: • Easy and convenient to open

• Elegant appearance

• Becomes a reusable tasting cork once opened.

Cons: • Not ideal for long-term aging

   • It fits most, but not all, standard wine bottles.

   • More expensive than other closures

Industry Trends to Consider

  With all these variations, innovations and sustainability initiatives in mind, you might wonder how most wineries are handling their closures these days.

  There is a growing interest in sustainability initiatives and eco-friendly closures that don’t deplete the Earth’s resources or end up in landfills. This trend is perhaps the most notable in the industry right now. Wineries are showing their preferences for biodegradable corks and traditional cork alternatives in their packaging solutions. Cork technology is also being developed to ensure excellent wine preservation capabilities and sealing efficiency.

  Wineries are also becoming more creative and open-minded about their closures as closure manufacturers develop new ideas. Now is a great time to explore the aesthetic appeal of wine closures that go beyond purely functional purposes to stand out among the competition and attract new consumers. There is a growing demand for premium wines, which is where glass and other alternative closures can emerge and make a real impact.

  In the Wine Bottle Closures Market report for 2024-2031, researchers found that the global wine bottle closures market was worth $3,885.36 million in 2022 and will likely reach $5,459.4 million in 2028. Major manufacturers in this industry are Vinventions, Inspiral, Astro, Waterloo Container Company, Cork Supply and Orora. Other industry leaders to watch include Amorim, Interpack, Labrenta, Precision Elite, AMCOR, Federfin Tech, DIAM, MASilva, Guala Closures Group and Bericap.

  The market is growing steadily, with cork, screwcap and plastic closures most prevalent. It has bounced back since the COVID-19 pandemic and has seen rising demand levels and more interest in experimentation and innovation. Geography also plays a role in wine closure preferences, with traditional corks still dominating Europe, where traditions run strong, yet there is more variance in other parts of the world.

  Will this be the year your winery switches up your bottle closures and tries something new? The leading industry players mentioned above might be worth contacting and exploring further to see if their latest products and closure strategies could fit within your current operations and future winemaking goals.

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