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Champagne seeks cork closure alternative. Could you live without the ‘pop’?

on 02/03/11 at 8:14 am


Leading Champagne houses are all desperately seeking an adequate substitute for the traditional cork closure, according to Ruinart chef de cave Frédéric Panaïotis.

Speaking to the drinks business at a Ruinart Champagne “Interpretation Lunch” in London yesterday, Panaïotis revealed that, so far, crown cap is proving the most realistic alternative.

“Of course we have looked at screwcap, but the problem there is in the disgorging process. You will become a rich man if you can find me a screwcap that can be re-used. So it seems the most realistic option is the crown cap.”

With so much romance and theatre associated with the opening of a bottle of Champagne, what is the urgency to find a new closure?

“You have to have a contingency plan, he said. “If a nuclear bomb was dropped on Spain and Portugal, the world’s supply of cork would be wiped out. What would we do then? It only makes sense that the whole industry is looking for something that can do a job if needed, and everyone has been trying to find the answer for years.”

When pressed on whether switching from cork would severely dilute the theatre of opening a bottle, Panaïotis remarked: “Of course, a loud ‘pop’ is, in my mind, one of the best parts of drinking Champagne.

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