The Best Stopper for a Wine Bottle
Wine bottle stoppers have taken on new dimensions, often decorative or whimsical. Made of plastic, metal, ceramic or steel, the best bottle stoppers will utilize a cork inset that slides into the bottle for the best closure, according to Iowa State University Extension. Any decoration should be attached on top of the cork.
When glass wine bottles were introduced in the 17th century, corks were used as plugs on top of the bottles. Although references to cork stoppers date back thousands of years, the regular use of the spongy stopper began with the advent of glass bottles, according to the Iowa State University Extension. While plastic and other substances have tried to replace the cork, it still remains the best stopper to maintain the flavor and bouquet of a good bottle of wine.
Portugal is the main worldwide producer of cork, which is made from the bark of a cork oak. The trees naturally grow in regions that border the Mediterranean Sea. The special properties of the bark include layers of tiny cells that form thick, uniform layers on the outer layer of bark. Each cell has a tiny amount of air trapped within it, which makes it an ideal substance for wine storage.
Cork compresses easily without causing any deformities in its shape or size. It is resilient and can be used over and over in the bottle after you pour a glass of wine. Once a cork is compressed to enter the top of the wine bottle, it expands back to its original size, effectively sealing the opening. Eventually if a cork wine stopper is not exposed to the liquid in the bottle however, it will dry out and become useless.
When wine is exposed to air it becomes oxidized. Part of the wine-making process requires you to allow the grapes a certain level of oxidation to achieve the fermenting needed to produce the final product. Repeated exposure however denigrates the quality of the wine and causes it to spoil. You need a good, tight wine stopper to prevent damaging oxidation.
The benefit of collecting cork wine stoppers is that you always have a fresh cork available when your old ones dry out. Wine stoppers that have decorative attachments also can be used in various rooms or to go with the hobbies and interests of the user. For example, the cork wine stoppers at Red Envelope with a golf ball or pool ball attached to them are ideal for sports lovers or for use in a home game room.