Cork as a closure for bottle-fermented sparkling wines during ageing on the lees

by | Jan 20, 2018 | South Africa Wine Scan

The aim of this study is to compare Method Cap Classique (MCC) wines fermenting and ageing under cork and crown caps. Anecdotal evidence shows that fermenting and ageing under cork instead of crown cap closures improve foam stability and bubble texture. However very little published literature is available on the topic. Objectives of the study will also include:

  • The impact of cork on yeast cell count and degree of autolysis;
  • Measuring the presence of phenolics and tannins that potentially add texture/density to the base wine;
  • Comparison of spectral data as an indication of the impact of complex molecules on foam stability and bubble function at the liquid/air interface;
  • Comparison of foam and the rate at which the bubbles rise in ageing sparkling wines;
  • Comparison of the role of cork phenolics on various macromolecules release during autolysis;
  •  The effect of cork migratory components on physical properties of the wine (texture/viscosity);
  • The role of phenolics and cork migratory compounds on bubble stability.

If the study confirms the anecdotal evidence it will give producers the option to increase the quality of their MCC sparkling wines and thus produce niche products to maintain market share.

Researchers: Paul Gerber and Neil Jolly

Image: Shutterstock

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