When buying wine back home, I had noticed there were a few different types of wine stoppers that are used to close the bottle. But I never thought anything of it until this trip to Italy. We had walked about 45 minutes outside of town to a local agriturismo (agri-tourism) vineyard, where we learned how the grapes were grown and how they made their own wine. The topic of wine stoppers came up, and I was soon thinking back to what I had noted the different materials. The winemaker, Riccardo, told us that they had always used glass stoppers to keep their wine fresh in the bottles. However, these glass stoppers were getting expensive, and he had been looking for an alternative. The reason they didn’t use cork as a wine stopper was that after a while the wine would take on the flavor of the cork and sometimes they were faulty, resulting in wasted wine. One of the alternatives was to use sugar cane. The sugar cane stoppers were relatively cheap to purchase and saved the flavor of the wine that he had worked so hard to produce. They looked relatively the same as a cork only with a rubbery feel. The sugar cane stopper is 100% recyclable with a net zero carbon footprint, made using renewable plant-based biopolymers derived from sugar cane. It provides consistent oxygen control while minimizing environmental impact by preventing spoilage and waste from cork faults. I now realize why there some wine stoppers are made out of different materials. I also know the taste that he was describing and agree that it is worth finding an alternative that preserves the flavor of the wine. No more corks for me!
The picture contains the glass stopper that La Pievuccia hopes to replace with the sugar cane one.