Back In 11/26/06 I posted my collection of Champagne muzzle caps at GlyphJockey then this week I was handed an article from Wine Spectator about a chap in good ol' New Jersey, John Sekora who has collected 7,000 different ones, many quite exquisite. Further investigation led me to other collectors, and I guess this is a whole thing.
I used to work in Gross Winery, (delicious name, no?) as a kid, and one day while bottling their sparkling wines, we had to taste the wine in the refrigerated bottling machine because it occasionally leaked hydraulic fluid. Possibly owing to never having had a college boy working with them, the tasting frequency got more liberal, and pretty soon the fellow who was in charge of putting in the corks, a former Nazi colonel, let me do it - he had never let anyone in 15 years. It was a deal where you took the cork just off the 90 degree mark and went whack WHACK! and voilà, the cork was in. The pink bubbly had its effect though, and after I sent a Mentos-and-Coke-worthy geyser skyward via a misstep with the mallet I was assigned back to the inflatable rubber foil hood crusher, a weird kind of job, where one put the foil capsule on the neck of the bottle, shoved the bottle into a rubber hole, and stepped on a pedal to inflate the rubber bladder, crushing the foil neatly. Mind numbing despite its allegorical appeal. Shortly after my reassignment (and continuing to "ckeck quality") we were all singing Hank Williams songs- and the owner of the winery came in and scattered the entire crew out to the fields.
But I digress- Go look at these, and enjoy - it is an old world elegance that takes such detail and pride for something that ends up in the trash cans of finer establishments.