New hi-tech wine closure from Italy launched in South Africa

Wednesday, 27 October, 2004
RAP Products Int.
Guala Seal Elite the closest thing to a cork stopper, but without its disadvantages.

While the cork versus screw cap debate rages on, Italy's leading packaging company, the Guala Group from Alessandria in Northern Italy, has quietly developed and launched the latest in artificial closures to the wine industry. The Guala Seal Elite, a composite synthetic cork, has the feel and visual appeal of traditional corks, and is intended to reduce losses by overcoming the age-old oenological problem of natural corks tainting or spoiling wine while maturing in the bottle.

The launch in South Africa of the Guala Seal Elite comes six months after its roll out in Europe, where reaction from the wine industry has been very positive, particularly as it is being seen as a real solution to the problems experienced with cork closures. Felice Fragola, Marketing Director and the chief innovator of the Guala Seal Elite, is in South Africa for its launch. He says, ' We're very excited about the prospects for Guala Seal Elite in South Africa. It is a sophisticated product that has been developed over many years. It really is the most efficient cork alternative ever produced. If the response in Europe is anything to go by, local wineries, once they gain confidence in the Guala Seal Elite, should start using it on a wide scale.'

The Guala Seal Elite closure comprises three components. The chassis (or structure) is made of high-rigidity techno-polymer; the body is constructed from a foamed thermoplastic elastomer and is designed to bond with glass; and the shield, at the bottom tip of the closure, is constructed of techno-polymer, specifically for its chemically inert properties. The pioneering production techniques used in developing the Guala Seal Elite have been licensed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Exhaustive ageing tests (which will continue) have shown excellent results in the performance of the closure.

A feature of the Guala Seal Elite is that, unlike other synthetic closures, it allows the ingress of minute quantities of oxygen, now widely recognised as being vital in the long-term maturation of wine. What's more, the permeability of the closure can be fine tuned to a winemaker's requirement. The Guala Seal Elite can be inserted by using traditional equipment. And last, but not least, romantics and traditionalists will be happy to know that the Guala Seal Elite can easily be drawn by a normal corkscrew.

Guala Seal Elite stoppers will be marketed and distributed in South Africa by RAP Products International (Pty) Ltd, who have been associated with the Guala Group for many years.

RAP Products International
Contact Andrea Protti
Tel 011 882 0574/ 083 229 6043