For those who love wine, or those who like to have a healthy stockpile of facts and information, the history of wine making is a great topic. There are endless books on the production of wine from the earliest of civilizations through to the mass production of this century.
However, many people do not know the basics of the wine bottle capsule. This is the covering over the cork that may be made of a variety of materials. Today, those materials include tin, PVC, polylaminate, foil or other types of materials that are lower cost to produce than high-end tin, but also more traditional looking than the modern shrink caps for wine bottles.
In the Beginning
In the beginning of the history of wine, it was stored in clay or earthenware vessels that were lined with beeswax or pine wax to prevent evaporation and seepage of the wine. These were actually open, so the tops were made very small to limit the amount of wine in contact with the air, preventing oxidation.
Later a clay stopper was used, but there was not a full seal, and some oxygen still made contact with the wine. Leaves and reeds were also used, but it was the Romans and the Greeks who first started using cork, often combined with a resin from plants, to keep it in place.
The first glass wine bottles with cork stoppers were introduced in the seventeenth century, but it was not until the 1820s the long neck became the standard design. Still not perfect and offering some oxygen access to the wine via the cork, it was a better option than anything else. Wax was often used to keep mice and insects from chewing on the cork.
Fast forward in time to the use of tin, which still continues today. Now, for a highly cost-effective option, many wineries use shrink caps for wine bottles. These are easy to apply with heat and the provide customized labeling options.
Today, shrink caps for wine bottles are used for both decorative purposes and protection of the wine. However, they are still an iconic element on any wine bottle and should be carefully selected to create the ideal bottling package.
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