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9/10/2014

Consistency is 'most important closure feature', according to survey (US)

US Wine Business Monthly recently conducted its 2014 Closure Survey which found many winemakers ranked closure consistency as the most desired attribute.

As reported in the magazine’s September 2014 issue, the primary findings of the survey suggest:

  • Natural corks remain the most popular and frequently used closure by a substantial margin
  • Screwcaps have supplanted technical corks as the most widely used alternative closure
  • Most wineries use multiple closure types
  • The pattern of closure usage seems to indicate that the US wine industry has mostly recovered from the recession that began in the third quarter of 2008
  • Consistency remains the most desired attribute in a closure
  • Large wineries tend to rate natural cork lower and cork alternatives higher than small- and mid-sized wineries
  • Small- and mid-sized wineries are more likely to try and match their winemaking to the closure type they intend to use
  • Most winemakers think oxygen transmission through the closure is preferable to oxygen in the headspace at bottling.

As noted by Curtis Phillips, who is the US Wine Business Monthly editor, as well as a winemaker, agricultural consultant and UC Davis graduate, winemakers may disagree on the most desirable closure type, but they don’t want their closures to contribute to bottle-to-bottle variation.

This was such a significant response that Phillips asked several of these winemakers to explain why they rated closure consistency so highly.

Glen O’Dell, Constellation Brands’ director for quality improvement, said “in a clean, sound, sterile glass bottle, the closure is the single potential source for significant variations in the wine’s environment after the package is filled and sealed in two important ways”.

These include:

  • Directly, through extraction of flavours and aromas (mouldy, woody, plastic, solvent) or microbial contamination from the closure itself and;
  • Indirectly, through oxygen transmission around of through the closure.

O’Dell said variations in closures, from either or both of those sources, will result in variability in the wine.

The full survey report was published in the June 2014 issue of US Wine Business Monthly.


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