Several of you have written in response to my most recent rant about plastic stoppers to ask whether I knew about the Australian plastic Zork and/or the German glass Vino-lok stoppers, both of which were mentioned in another article about stoppers in general I wrote in 2004.
John Brooks, Founder & Technical Director ZORK Pty Ltd, South Australia has recently sent the following commercial for his invention (which I have seen on a D'Arenberg wine or two):
I have been following your 'anti-plastic rant' with interest. Screwcaps are definitely not, "the end of the road". They are the beginning of an exciting new journey for the wine industry and consumers. ZORK is a very different type of 'synthetic' wine closure. It works like a screwcap, feels like a cork but has a unique appearance all of its own. We have a different slant on the subject that might be interesting to your readers.
- Consumers like to know what they are buying. Being able to see which closure is used in/on a wine bottle helps to manage expectations.
ZORK is clearly visible and different from the outside. Consumers can see what they are getting, unlike some other closures that are concealed by the capsule. Our customers are discovering that the closure is driving sales because consumers can see what they are getting. www.zork.com.au/movies/HOWTOZORKsmall.swf
- Consumers expect wine closures to work and brands are damaged when they don't. The performance expectations of the wine industry have been significantly elevated since the closure debate began and wineries have more options for closing a bottle than ever before. Consumers trust the wineries to do the testing for them.
ZORK has a foil welded between the cap and plunger ensuring a long shelf life. The foil helps it to seal like a screwcap and the plunger makes a pop like a cork. ZORK has been independently tested and is proven to be a quality closure for quality wines.
www.zork.com.au/pdfs/18MonthTestResults-ExecSummary.pdf (24 month results due soon)
- It's all about convenience. For true 'ease of extraction' wouldn't it be best to eliminate the corkscrew altogether?
ZORK does not require a corkscrew and is easily removed and re-sealed by hand, much like a "stopper cork" for port. www.zork.com.au/movies/spin_red.swf
- Perceptions are everything. Many consumers still perceive screwcaps as being for 'cheap' wines (regardless of the price tag).
ZORK is a new closure that has been specifically designed for quality wines. It is neither a cork nor a scre cap. ZORK uses the best elements of both of them and sits comfortably between the two. www.zork.com.au/pdfs/ZORKstorySebastiani.pdf
- The cost of new capital equipment is a huge barrier to smaller wineries adopting new technologies of any kind. Application should be fast easy and reliable.
ZORKs can be applied at standard industry speeds on either a modified screw capper or corker. There is no need to buy a complete new machine. Change-parts cost between AUD$5,000 - $10,000. www.zork.com.au/pdfs/Bottling_Benefits.pdf Micro producers can apply ZORKs easily with a hand capper. www.zork.com.au/pdfs/10.ManualCapping.pdf
- Recycling, treatment chemicals, raw materials mining are global problems that all manufacturers are be concerned about.
ZORK is fully recyclable