Chapter 12

Wine Packaging

Wine Bottle Capsules

Capsules are used to cover the cork surface and serve three functions: (1) protecting the cork from cork-borers; (2) improving the bottle's appearance; and (3) providing brand identity or authenticity (Figure 12.5). Traditionally, they were made of lead; however, trace amounts of toxic lead can potentially remain on the lip of the bottle and mix with the poured wine. Nowadays capsules are made of tin, polylaminate, polyvinyl chloride (PVC), or aluminum, not lead.


Tin is the most forgiving of all materials. While being of one-piece construction, it is soft and easily formed. It also readily accepts artwork, and embossing is often considered crisper. It begins as a molten material, it is formed and drawn over a mandrel, reduced to the desired thickness, and then the artwork is applied. The only pitfall is the expense.


Polylaminate material is a three-layer structure of aluminum/polyethylene/aluminum designed to mimic the look and characteristics of tin. The properties of the threelayer structure provide the malleability of tin at a greatly reduced price. Polylaminate capsules are spun down on the bottle in the same manner as tin. The same equipment can be used for both types of capsule

Polyvinyl Chloride

Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) capsules can be an economical alternative to traditional polylaminate or tin capsules. Polyvinyl chloride is mainly relegated to larger wineries.


Aluminum capsules are used less frequently but they offer a seamless look and crease-free placement. For sustainablyminded brands, they're fully recyclable.

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