Alcan's world-first metal champagne closure is operated by a lever and has cost EUR 1m to develop, the company reveals.The Maestro metal closure was officially launched on May 5, adorning French vineyard Champagne Duval-Leroy's Clos des Bouveries 2004 vintage, giving the first glimpse of a system that has been touted as a replacement for the traditional champagne cork.
Gently unsealing a plastic cap when pulled, Alcan's lever device will be fitted initially to several thousand bottles from the Duval-Leroy champagne house to test market reaction.
According to Alcan Packaging Capsules, the division that developed the closure, the Maestro was in development for three years and its system retains the evocative "popping" sound of traditional cork closures when the bottle is opened.
Maestro can, the company says, be provided in a range of materials including leather and fabrics and opens up almost unlimited decoration options for champagne and other sparkling wines.
News of the new closure broke last month, although neither Alcan nor Duval-Leroy made any further details of the closures public at the time. Alcan would only say that the closure was "revolutionary".
Duval-Leroy Champagne president Carol Duval-Leroy points out that the closure issue was "of crucial importance" for the Champagne region of France, where champagne is produced.
She says the launch of the new closure would "open the debate" on closures for champagne and demonstrated her own vineyard's "links between heritage and innovation."