I read with great interest today that De Bortoli Wines have introduced a new screw cap enclosure for Sparkling wine called Viiva™, which was developed in Australia by Guala Closures. It must have been quite a task producing the new screw cap, as it spent 5 years in development.
Innovation in the Champagne and sparkling wine enclosure world is a slow business, with the first bottles of Dom Perignon being corked with pieces of wood with oil-sponged cloth, and then plunged in wax. This seal did not maintain the pressure required to stop the bottles from leaking, so various forms of wire enclosures were used until the current form of wire enclosure with metal cap to hold the cork in called the muselet was pioneered by Adolphe Jacqueson in 1844.
There are some obvious benefits to having a screw enclosure on a sparkling wine, such as reduced risk of cork taint/oxidisation and the ability to seal the bottle back up easily but will this innovation spread? It’s not the first time in recent memory a wine company has attempted to use a different style of enclosure. Back in 2009, Champagne House Duval-Leroy announced they were going to begin selling bottles under crown cap (the same type of cap that seals a beer bottle). While they saw some success with the enclosure, it never really took off.
One of the pleasures of opening a bottle of champagne or sparkling for me is the ritual of removing the foil, removing the muselet and hearing the satisfactory pop of the cork as the bottle opens. Would you buy some of your favourite Champagnes and sparkling wines if they were under screw cap? Is it a welcome innovation or a novelty?
Let us know in the comments below.