Many of you may have noticed that a majority of our wines have a screw cap rather than cork. It’s a relatively new trend but we are certainly not the only winery to do it. Wineries all throughout the Finger Lakes have begun using screw caps as closures for their wines, and we completely understand why. Not only does it help make the wine more accessible (no tools needed to open) but the screw cap (aka Stelvin) also helps the overall quality of the wine. With some help from our Winemaker, Phil, we have broken down the benefits of using Stelvin screw cap closures.
What’s the issue?
One of the major causes of wine spoilage is oxidation. When it’s really pronounced, there are characteristic Sherry/bruised apple aromas that are readily apparent, but even with a small amount of oxidation, you’ll see diminished flavor/aroma/freshness. In the winery, we go out of our way to avoid oxidation by limiting a wine’s opportunities to dissolve oxygen. Unfortunately, once we’ve got a wine packaged, there’s not a whole lot we can do to manage this.
Why not cork?
When we seal a bottle of wine, the closure that we use will have a direct impact on that bottle’s aging potential/shelf life. Traditional closures like cork and synthetic cork do not seal a bottle perfectly and will allow some air to seep inside over time. Part of the reason cork has been used in winemaking is that it has a relatively low oxygen transfer rate, but it’s not perfect. Additionally, using natural cork in a wine carries the risk of introducing cork-derived flaws that are capable of destroying a wine’s aromas at concentrations in the parts per trillion range. While some oxygen transfer is desirable for long-term aging in big, dry reds, that represents a really limited amount of our overall production.
How does it impact preservation?
Stelvin is a preferable alternative for everything else because it doesn’t permit any oxygen to transfer into the bottle. That allows us to lock in the freshness of a wine at bottling and trust that it will be maintained long term. We work really hard in the winery to draw out aromatic complexity and maintain freshness in our products, and closing them under Stelvin maximizes our ability to carry that complexity and freshness to the customer.
We are proud and excited to use Stelvin caps for a majority of our wines. Not only are they more convenient for our customers, but they also help preserve the overall quality of our wines. We hope you found this information both helpful and interesting.