Say 'So Long' to the Champagne Cork?

It is the sound of celebration.

It is the sound of a cork emerging from a bottle of Champagne.

That loud pop is just as familiar as the sound of a train whistle, or of bowling pins falling.

Yet at French Champagne house Duval-Leroy, which last year produced 6 million bottles of bubbly, that sound may be dissipating.

Later this year, Duval-Leroy will begin selling Champagne sealed with… gasp!… aluminum tops.

The estate isn’t saying exactly what type of top will be used, and neither is the manufacturer of the closure. And for now, at least, the move is just a test, limited to the Clos des Bouveries range of wines.

Nearly all wine exported from New Zealand now is sealed with screw caps instead of corks. A growing number of California wineries are following the same path, with little negative reaction from consumers.

Whether aluminum tops become a trend rather than merely an experiment will depend largely on public acceptance.

Will those who purchase Champagne continue to do so if there is no popping sound to anticipate? That is the question Duval-Leroy seeks to answer with its bold experiment this year.

Posted in Editor's Journal
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