jamie goode's wine blog: Closures: managing risk

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Closures: managing risk

I've decided to delete this post, but wanted to leave a marker here for the sake of openness, rather than just make it vanish, '1984'-style.

It was a 'thinking out loud' post attempting to put rough figures on various aspects of closure risk, but on reflection, and after some discussion, I think it's actually really unhelpful - what the closures debate needs are more solid data points, and not more anecdote and opinion.



At 12:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Isn't cork taint completely reversible by passing the wine over polythene?

At 12:55 PM, Anonymous Alex Lake said...

You should perhaps include the risk of certain segments of the market not accepting your wine.

So perhaps a large risk of TEE refusing to stock a white wine without screwcap and a large risk of customers rejecting expensive red wines with screwcap?

At 1:39 PM, Blogger Edward said...


Regarding the loss of quality. Is this compared to the original wine at bottling or to a control bottle and a hypothetical perfect seal?

At 2:03 PM, Blogger Martin said...

very interesting stuff!! a few questions:
how do you define flavour scalping, and how do you propose measuring this?
what qualifies a white grape as terpenic, and what are some other examples??
thanks for the duscussion!

At 2:30 PM, Blogger Greg said...


What is the source of these numbers? I've never seen them before. I'd love to read the article.


At 5:37 PM, Blogger Rickg said...

Source the numbers. Anyone can pull numbers out of thin air. With no source, this is just opinion with made-up figures seeming to give it some semblance of objectivity.

At 6:02 PM, Blogger Jamie said...

Anon, you can remove the TCA, but also other things with it, so it's not really a cure.

Alex, good point

Edward - the wine after bottling - there's a variable not taken into account, which is quality lost at bottling through oxygen uptake

Martin, certain compounds are absorbed by plastic - terpenic varieties are those where terpenes are an important part of the flavour spectrum, such as riesling, torrontes, muscat, gewurztraminer

Greg/Rick, I said this was thinking out loud. Some are from data, some are educated guesses.

At 7:12 PM, Anonymous Arthur said...

An informal survey I did last year showed a slightly higher incidence of TCA, but it *was* a small sample and it was not tightly controlled. Respondents were mostly winemakers and wine bloggers/writers:


At 8:40 PM, Anonymous Ian S said...

What do I think? Guestimates. Might be close, might be horribly far away from reality. If you're going to make an assessment of risk, you'd want solid data on which to base your assessment.

Of course we're all in a similar position, and the chances of us agreeing the %'s is one number we probably can agree on!

This is fine for a debate, but very susceptable to the usual entrenched positions around this subject. I'm sure you are (and I know I am), frustrated at the paucity of good solid (and unbiased) studies that will give us a better idea.


Flipping the question slightly, assuming you leaned moderately towards Diam, were unsure either way about screwcap and were moderately disappointed with cork, what would be your ideal cellar split? 45:35:20 ?

I'm guessing most folks outside of Oz/NZ would still have mostly cork-sealed wines, perhaps a significant minority of screwcap and a light smattering of Diam.

If we're talking about managing risk, it's important to remember what we already have in the cellar, as well as how we might want to spread the risk on new purchases.



At 10:14 PM, Anonymous Richard Gibson said...

It is important to differentiate between the performance of different screwcap liners. I think that the post-bottling reduction risk with caps containing a liner based on metal foil is higher than the reduction risk for caps with an all-polymer liner. However, caps with a polymer liner give a medium/long term oxidation risk.

The liners are easy to tell apart - all-polymer liners are white, metal foil liners are silver - but only after you remove the cap from the bottle!

Most caps used in Australia and NZ have a foil liner, while all-polymer liners predominate in Europe. However, several larger commercial products in Australia have recently been changed to all-polymer liners as wineries have found the post-bottling reduction risk very difficult to manage. These products are likely to be consumed well within the shelf life limits imposed by the higher oxygen transmission rate of these liners.

At 10:56 PM, Blogger Jamie said...

Richard, thanks for that important perspective - I should point out to readers tnhat richard is one of the leading experts in the field of closures


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