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Published:  23 July, 2008

By Jack Hibberd

In another blow to the cork industry, the legendary Rheingau Estate, Schloss Vollrads, is to move the majority' of its range to the new Vino-Lok glass stopper' closure. According to Hans-Joachim Binz, managing director of Wineconsale (exporters of the Schloss Vollrads range), the estate is planning to put its first wines under glass stopper from the 2004 vintage' and then hopes to bottle the majority of the range under glass in the following year'. He added: We, like everyone else, have had problems with natural cork but we didn't want to just follow the New World and go down the Stelvin route. We wanted to do something different. The best closure for wine is not cork, not synthetic cork and not Stelvin. It is glass.' Launched at last year's Prowein, the Vino-Lok closure has the appearance of a decorative stopper, but it is guaranteed to hold firmly in the bottle opening and can be resealed', according to its producers Alcoa. A twist-off aluminium cap holds the stopper in place. Benz said the cost implication is not yet 100% clear' but he doesn't expect it to cost much more than a good-quality natural cork. Vollrads have already ordered a significant quantity of the glass stoppers, but we do not yet have the exact delivery time confirmed by the producer,' added Binz. We expect delivery late this year to be prepared for the 2004 vintage bottlings. We would like to stay with the facette-shaped Rheingau flute bottle, which needs slight bottle neck adjustments to hold the glass stopper.' The first wines to have the closure will be early-drinking wines and those already closed with Stelvin. David Gleave MW, managing director of Schloss Vollrads' UK agent Liberty Wines, said he had no problems' with the move: The pros of the closure are similar to those of Stelvin and we have had a great response to Stelvin from the on-trade in general. We've actually seen sales increases for many wines that have moved to screwcap.'