A plastic cork which makes producing fizz at home ‘easy’ is launching on Kickstarter — here’s how it works

While England is fast becoming an enviable location for producing bottle-fermented sparkling wines, making your own is not so easy.

Could a plastic cork revolutionise home winemaking?

A tech-savvy oenophile has invented a cork which he claims reduces the level of skill required to make fizz — paving the way for a boom in bottle-fermented wine production at home.

The SparkleKlear, created by property surveyor and home wine enthusiast Malcolm Ward, uses a unique set of valves and seals to draw yeast out of a bottle of fizz with minimal effort and cost to the producer.

In the traditional method, winemakers add yeast to the bottle in the final stages of fermentation. When this is complete, the bottle is slowly tipped until the yeast settles into the neck.

The yeast is then frozen and released in a process commonly known as disgorging. The traditional method, though popular with many formidable producers, is labour-intensive, and causes vintners to lose valuable sparkling wine as it is ejected from the bottle alongside the the residual yeast.

Many wineries now carry out this process by machine, but the equipment is costly, and amateur winemakers still struggle to produce their own fizz at home.

The plastic cork uses a sealed valve to trap yeast away from the sparkling wine with ease.

Instead, the plastic cork operates using a series of valves which draw the yeast out of the bottle of wine without losing any of the pressure built up during fermentation.

“All you need to do when the yeast settles down is squeeze the valve,” Ward said, “and the yeast which has collected within the stopper and will be ejected, which makes it terribly simple and leads to minimal loss of wine and minimal loss of pressure in the process.”

The SparkleKlear campaign, which will launch on the crowdfunding site on Tuesday 19 December, is aimed not only at home winemakers, but also at UK vineyards looking to reduce their carbon footprint and production costs.

Ward came up with the idea after attempting to make sparkling wine the traditional way at home, “the hard way.”

“I realised that there was demand for a product to assist the home-brewer making it easy to make at home.”

The SparkleKlear could pave the way for a boom of sparkling wine producers in the UK.

Ward needs to raise £55,000 in order to launch the SparkleKlear, which he hopes to start shipping corks to winemakers big and small from May 2018.

The SparkleKlear also promises to reduce the serious impact of sparkling wine production on the environment.

“I discovered a Government report on the Carbon footprint of sparkling wine, which is huge, around 7 Kgs per bottle and that’s just the glass before transportation etc.”

“I decided to set about designing a product that would assist in both areas.”

Ward said that, now that a prototype has been tested and fully developed, he’s “joined the Kickstarter family” to acquire the capital to mass-produce the cork.

Ward’s Kickstarter campaign is well-timed. The news comes as Champagne houses are now looking to the UK as a sought-after terroir for Champagne-style sparklers.

In 2015, Tattinger announced plans to launch Domaine Evremond, a winery within a 69 hectare plot in Kent near Canterbury that will be used to produce a range of new “premium” English sparkling wines.

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