Wine Buzz: Closure sought on closures

Published: Wednesday, Sep. 26, 2012 - 12:00 am | Page 3D

"Wine Buzz" has previously touched on a wine-enclosures study that could have huge ramifications for the global wine industry.

Are corks and screw-caps equally effective as wines age? If two bottles of the same wine taste different, could that be because of the type of enclosure that's used?

Those are among the questions being probed by the Bottle Aging – Closure and Variability Study, which is being conducted by the University of California, Davis, in partnership with the PlumpJack Group.

We've got some more details on the breadth of this study:

• More than 600 bottles of sauvignon blanc that use cork, screw caps or synthetic corks are being analyzed.

• Medical-imaging technology will be used to evaluate the internal structures of the various enclosures.

• Spectrophotometer devices will analyze color changes in the wine, an indicator of how much they may have degraded through oxidation over time and the rate at which the various wines aged.

After all that science, a panel next year will use its senses of taste and smell to try to determine the differences between the various wines.

The idea that natural corks are a superior closure over synthetic versions or screw caps when it comes to aging wine has been a hotly debated topic. But the purpose if this study isn't necessarily to prove once and for all that one method of bottle closure is better than another.

"This isn't a contest between corks and screw caps," said Andrew Waterhouse, professor of viticulture and enology at UC Davis. "We're trying to measure the consistency between various types of closures. There's very little data on this and we wanted to see how much variation there actually was."

We'll look forward to sharing results next year.

Best of the Barrel

Roll out the barrel: Speaking of UC Davis' Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food science, Friday's Best of the Barrel fundraiser includes 40 wineries and food from Nugget Markets kitchens, with proceeds going toward the Institute's Graduate Student Association and other efforts.

The event will be held at the institute's Good Life Garden at UC Davis from 5 to 8 p.m. Tickets cost $75. Information: (530) 752-5233 and robertmondaviinstitute.

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Read more articles by Chris Macias

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