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A problem that is becoming more evident these days with in the wine industry is that a great number of traditionally naturally sealed wines are damaged by cork that is tainted, ill-fitting or deteriorated.
It is estimated that around 5-10% of all wines will be affected to some degree and in some cases the wine will have to be discarded because the cork is “corked”, meaning that the porous and imperfect material (wood bark) was tainted or infected, and during its contact with the wine, it altered its chemistry with damaging results to the quality of the wine (See “wines of Interest” at www.winesofinterest.co.uk/cork_plastic_screwtop.htm). The “corked wine” will be affected and depending of the seriousness of the taint, it could show symptoms that go from musty smell, to a change in the tastes of the wine, which becomes flat and bodiless.
There are several ways to avoid this problem, such as using plastic corks and screw caps, but they find great resistance from the market that is used to open natural wood corks.
High quality wines are usually associated with naturally sealed corks, but the price to pay is the risk to have the wine spoiled by the cork. This invention will solve this problem, and the proposed solution pertains to the field of Mechanical Engineering.
The way the wine bottles have been sealed for many, many years, is by inserting a traditional wood cork on top of the bottle after the wine have been poured into it.
This method has become the preferred way to sealed wine bottles, and was very economical and successful in accomplishing this, but it was never a perfect solution for the wine bottles, as the cork was made of a very porous and organic material, wood bark.
Once the bottle was sealed and the wine entered in contact with the cork, if this one was not free of fitting defects, tainted or deteriorated, the wine could easily be exposed to air or any contaminants inside the cork, and as a result the wine could be affected or even damaged by this problem.
The idea of this invention is to solve these problems and still use a traditional wood cork, but with the addition and protection of a plastic cap at the end of the cork, that will prevent the wine to enter in contact with the porous wood cork.
By adding this small plastic cap to the end of the cork, we will be able to eliminate the contact between the cork and the wine, isolating the wine from any contaminants and preserving it in perfect condition, and still being able to use a wood cork.
A better understanding of the Plastic Cap Protector for Wine Bottles will be had by reference to the drawings here in:
FIG. 1 This is a view of a typical wine bottle—the upper side
FIG. 2 This is a view of a typical wood wine cork that has a cylindrical shape, that shows a height of a typical wine bottle cork.
FIG. 3 This is a view of the bottle in FIG. 1 but with the wood wine cork of FIG. 2 compressed and inserted inside the bottle for sealing purposes of the wine that is storing.
FIG. 4 There are two pieces in this drawing. The first on the left is a round plastic cap and the other one is a modified wine cork, that shows a typical diameter for its cylindrical shape. The diameter of the plastic cap is meant to match the diameter of the bottom section of the so it can host it.
FIG. 5 This drawing shows the two elements cork-cap FIG. 4 already in place, and ready to be introduced inside the wine bottle neck.
FIG. 6 This drawing shows the new modified cork with the plastic cap inserted at the bottom section, that has been inserted inside the wine bottle neck, for sealing purposes.
The upper section of the cork has been compressed in order to fit inside the wine bottle neck and provide a good sealing. The lower section that hosts the plastic cap, has already the proper diameter to provide a good fit, and does not requires of any compression.
There are many different types of wine bottle shapes, but most of them share common patterns, especially at the top where the sealing cork goes into place.
The wine container FIG. 1-1 has a bottle neck of 75 mm as shown in FIG. 1-2 and a circular hole FIG. 3-3 of 19 mm, where the wine is poured into the bottle.
The way to seal this bottle after the wine has been placed inside it, is by using a common wood wine cork similar to the one shown in FIG. 2-1, which is very porous and has many imperfections such as small cracks and dents shown in FIG. 2-1, but has served its purpose for many years and has become the preferred choice for sealing wine bottles. These imperfections also appeared at the top and the bottom sides of the cork FIG. 2-4, which has a cylindrical shape with a diameter of 21 mm.
The diameter of the cork is slightly bigger than the inner diameter of the wine bottle hole as shown in FIG. 3-1, but because the cork is made of flexible wood bark, it can be pushed inside the bottle neck FIG. 3-2, providing in this way a good method for sealing the bottle. Unfortunately once the cork is inside of the bottle, it will sooner or later get in contact with the wine FIG. 3-4, and because of the porous material that is made of, it will allow the wine to invade the cork, and in cases where the wine is red, a reddish color will be visible at the bottom of the cork as shown in FIG. 3-3.
If the cork was somehow contaminated before entering the bottle, the wine will eventually engaged with the contaminant and could become tainted, losing its qualities of aroma (bouquet) and body texture.
The longer the wine is exposed to the contaminant, the greater the chances are that the wine will become “corked”, meaning developing a bad odor and taste, therefore ruining the wine.
The best way to stop the wine from entering the cork is by inserting a buffer material that is totally non-porous, and therefore will isolate the wine from the cork. This can be accomplish by using a plastic cap as shown in FIG. 4-1, that will be placed at the bottom of the cork.
The idea of this cap is to provide protection to the wine, and in order to make it more pleasant to the eye, it could be of a similar color of the cork, or even totally clear, so the people that opens the bottle can see that the cork has not been in contact with the wine (for red wines).
The original diameter of the cork, as shown in FIG. 4-2, will have to be slightly trimmed at the bottom FIG. 4-3, so its diameter at the lower section has been reduce from 21 mm to 18 mm, making possible in this way for the plastic cap to be easily fitted at the bottom of the cork. The rest of the cork (the top section) will still have its original diameter of 21 mm as shown in FIG. 4-4.
Once the cap has been inserted at the bottom of the modified cork, its final shape will be like in FIG. 5, where the top section FIG. 5-1 is slightly wider than the bottom cap section FIG. 5-2. There will be a difference of 2 mm in the diameter between these two sections, while the cork is outside the bottle. This is necessary, because the plastic cap will not have the same contraction properties of the wood bark, but it will make a perfect fit in the hole of the wine bottle
After the cap is placed at the bottom of the cork, it can finally be inserted inside the wine bottle as shown in FIG. 6-1, and now the cap and the cork will have the same width, as both sections FIG. 6-2 will be forced to have a diameter of 19 mm (which is the diameter of the inner hole of the bottle neck), and the wine FIG. 6-3 will not be able to contact the wood cork, because the plastic cap FIG. 5-4 will not allow it, as plastic has the property of being a non porous material, securing in this way that any contaminants in the cork, will stay in the cork and will not enter in contact with the wine. It will even prevent the ingress of air through any imperfections in the cork, safekeeping in this way the chemical conditions and quality of the wine.
This plastic cap protector can even be strongly attached to the cork by using a proper adhesive, in order to facilitate its complete extraction when the cork is removed at the time of serving the wine.