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Idle musings about screw caps

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St Allie

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Just thinking about this today..ageing wine under screwcaps.. well you can't really do it can you?.. There's no cork with air getting through to the wine. Will the wine still make the long molecule chains without the extra oxygen getting through via a cork? does it take twice as long to age .. if you don't cork?

I've gotten into the habit of bulk storing for about 6 months before bottling. If the wine is well sulphited and under a layer of gas, ( providing you have the ability to add the layer of gas), how is the oxygen getting to the wine to help with ageing anyway?

Will the 6 months ageing in the carboy be enough, before bottling under a screw cap?..

just throwing this out there for discussion.

Allie
 

deboard

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I've seen a couple of articles recently that challenge the claim that wine does not age properly with screw caps. I think your second statement about bulk aging in carboys supports that as well. If no air gets in, and yet it ages well, then air must not be that important!

If screw caps were easier to use and cheap, I'd start saving my screw top bottles!
 

Dugger

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There is a screw cap that utilizes multiple layers of liners of materials that apparently do allow micro oxygenation like a cork. I think I read it in an article linked from a thread here some time ago, but my memory isn't as good as it used to be.
 

Wade E

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Im willing to bet the tests that were done on wines with screw caps were commercial and they age their wine in bulk for around 1 year usually before bottling and that is long enough for just about any wine on earth in my opinion for any wine to get 02. Screw cap technology has come along way and so have beer caps. They have beer caps that absorb the 02 that you trapped in your beer. They make many plastics that breathe but dont leak.
 

St Allie

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There is a screw cap that utilizes multiple layers of liners of materials that apparently do allow micro oxygenation like a cork. I think I read it in an article linked from a thread here some time ago, but my memory isn't as good as it used to be.
Hey deboard, dugger and wade..

I did throw this topic out, without research.. just to see the responses.

I do reuse screw capped bottles ( and the screw caps, well sanitised.)

have no idea if the commercial wines are fully matured before bottling.. and what length of time you can leave them bottled before opening.

something like having an expiry date on something, I suppose.

have left this topic very open ended for discussion..

so just throw out your ideas.. or links to information that is relevant.

it's just a fact finding tour really.

let's see what we can uncover..

Allie
 

Wade E

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Whats the oldest one that you have and have you tasted one of those lately.
 

St Allie

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the oldest one is 18months old (bottled) and it's a damson plum, haven't opened it yet. Due to having plenty of short term whites .. (grapefruit/lemon/ apple/and cider etc)

I think the cider improves under screw cap in a 6 month period. However, the cider is bulk stored roughly 4 months on average before bottling.

Comparing bottles of a cider, screw capped and corked for the same length of time, could be interesting. Quality control would mean the cider would have to come from the same wine batch, to get a reasonably accurate result.

Allie.
 

Wade E

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I see a test in your future! One bottle corked, one capped and 1 screwed and 1 sent to me to verify that its even good to begin with!
 

cpfan

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A few years ago in one of the commercial wine industry publications there was an article on Stelvin style screw caps. The item that I retained from the article was that the winery has a number of choices about the type of liners (as Dugger mentioned above). By choosing the desired liners, the winery can determine the amount of oxygenation, etc.

Sorry, but I don't have a link to the article.

Steve
 

St Allie

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I see a test in your future! One bottle corked, one capped and 1 screwed and 1 sent to me to verify that its even good to begin with!
hehehe yes!

thing is..I'd still like to know what people think about screw caps..

the discussion is still open here...

Allie
 

Runningwolf

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I think the industry has come along ways with screw caps and it obvious with Australia and NZ using them all the time. People hate change and relate screw caps to Boone's Farm and other cheap wines. On the other hand people are buying wine out of the box so maybe they'll be ready to change sooner than we think.
 

St Allie

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A few years ago in one of the commercial wine industry publications there was an article on Stelvin style screw caps. The item that I retained from the article was that the winery has a number of choices about the type of liners (as Dugger mentioned above). By choosing the desired liners, the winery can determine the amount of oxygenation, etc.

Sorry, but I don't have a link to the article.

Steve
that makes for very interesting research.

thanks Steve, much appreciated.

Allie
 

St Allie

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I think the industry has come along ways with screw caps and it obvious with Australia and NZ using them all the time. People hate change and relate screw caps to Boone's Farm and other cheap wines. On the other hand people are buying wine out of the box so maybe they'll be ready to change sooner than we think.
Not sure why NZ and Aussie have embraced screwcaps so wholeheartedly.

... sure they both have wines that they intend to cellar for some years and some that are early drinkers.

thing is..even in NZ here..buying screw caps ( brand new/unused at the local HBS) is hard to find.

I was wondering if there were issues with them as a product.

Allie.
 

cpfan

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thing is..even in NZ here..buying screw caps ( brand new/unused at the local HBS) is hard to find.

I was wondering if there were issues with them as a product.

Allie.
For the home winemaker (in North America at least), the main problem is cost of equipment. There is no inexpensive method of applying Stelvin (or Auscap) style closures. These are manufactured without screw threads, and must be applied with a specialized machine. This is called "Roll On Pilfer Proof" (ROPP).

Steve
 

Birdman

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There was a great short article in Wine Spectator an issue or two ago where a company actually hired by the cork industry compared stelvin and cork closures and found that over 10 years, wines under stelvin caps held up better. There was a compelling picture comparing the color of white wines. They basically said that the 10 year old Chardonnay used in the test that was in a corked bottle was barely palatable and the same exact wine aged in stelvin was excellent. Unfortunately, I can't find an on-line link to the story.

I prefer the age-old tradition of cork, but it's getting harder and harder to make the argument that cork is better for wine. I would love to be able to use screw caps for my home wine without having to recycle used ones.

Jacques
 

granda

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personally i like corks but im finding it hard to get bottles for the corks so im having to look at screwcaps as an alternative but how good is the seal on a used screwcap bottle?
so far any ive used has only been short trem and ive had no problems so i think its time to try a couple of long term wines just to see
as far as i can see the future is turning towards mass produced screwcap bottles so maybe its the way we should go as well
 

NSwiner

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the oldest one is 18months old (bottled) and it's a damson plum, haven't opened it yet. Due to having plenty of short term whites .. (grapefruit/lemon/ apple/and cider etc)

I think the cider improves under screw cap in a 6 month period. However, the cider is bulk stored roughly 4 months on average before bottling.

Comparing bottles of a cider, screw capped and corked for the same length of time, could be interesting. Quality control would mean the cider would have to come from the same wine batch, to get a reasonably accurate result.

Allie.
It just so happens I have a 4 liter batch of cider that I will be bottling in the next week or so .I could cork one bottle and put a used cap on another bottle ,I don't have any bottles I could put a new cap on ,oh but I could do real & synthetic corks .Of course a little for me to sample now .Age them atleast 6 months I was thinking Xmas time for this batch .So i wouldn't be doing long term storage .

What I do is make my bottles with the caps my first ones to drink then I don't have to worry about them going bad . Having said that I do have a few 1.5 liter bottles that are still not opened ,I'm saving them for when we have company or we know we will drink the whole bottle .
 

TheTooth

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For the home winemaker (in North America at least), the main problem is cost of equipment. There is no inexpensive method of applying Stelvin (or Auscap) style closures. These are manufactured without screw threads, and must be applied with a specialized machine. This is called "Roll On Pilfer Proof" (ROPP).

Steve
That's the real issue. Personally, I'd use screw caps on my bottles if the pricing for equipment and materials was reasonable.
 

Luc

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There is a lot more to aging as just oxygen getting at the wine.

First it is tannins settling.

next it is sugars transforming.
Residual table sugar will convert to invert sugar.
Normally inverts sugar is made by heating table sugar with water and acid, but time will also do the trick replacing the heat.
This alters the taste of a wine.

There is esters forming.
meaning that alcohol will couple with acid and form esters.
This alters the taste of a wine.

There is oxygen interacting with the wine.

There is tartaric acid forming crystals and settling.

There are many more chemical processes going on which we still do not know about.

So a wine bottled with a screw cap will do part of these processes and therefore the wine under a screw cap will indeed perform several chemical reactions and that is what we call aging.

Luc
 
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