cork, Education, Packaging, Portugal, Research, sensory, sensory science, SOMM Journal, Technology, wine faults
Comments 15

The Myth Buster: Dr. Paulo Lopes dispels long-held beliefs about cork

Amorim's Dr. Paulo Lopes.

When it comes to wine storage, old habits are hard to break. But Dr. Paulo Lopes, Research and Development Manager at Amorim Cork, advises that if temperature
and humidity are maintained at the correct levels, wine can be stored upright
with no ill effects.

In fact, sparkling wine should always be stored upright: a little-known fact that seems lost on many wine experts. During the course of his groundbreaking research, Lopes has seen no difference in the amount of oxygen found in wines that have been stored horizontally or vertically.

Using science to debunk the myths that persist within wine culture is liberating largely
because the facts can be even more compelling than the misleading maxims. In his recent presentation at the San Francisco Wine School on the reductive and oxidative nature of wine, Lopes made it abundantly clear that, after bottling, the main source of oxygen in wine comes from the cork itself.

Atmospheric oxygen doesn’t make its way through the cork (neither does mold, for that matter); rather, the air trapped in cork’s lenticels, or pores, diffuses into the wine over a period of roughly three years. Wines bottled under cork are impressionable in their youth (they’re a bit like humans in this way). How a wine ages over an extended period depends largely on the amount of oxygen released by the cork during the wine’s first few years in the cellar.

Not surprisingly, different grades of cork contain different amounts of oxygen: A longer, higher-quality Grade A cork with fewer lenticels will release less. “Longer corks are
much more homogeneous in oxygen release,” said Lopes. “Also, due to the [sloping]
shape of the bottle neck, the cork is less compressed and thus releases less oxygen.”

Read the full article here – Lopes22018

15 Comments

  1. Pingback: Wine Blog Daily Wednesday 2/14/18 | Edible Arts

  2. Dan Goldfield says

    Professor Vern Singleton taught us this in enology class 30 years ago.

      • John Sears says

        No, I have not. I like the part in your article regarding the upright storage especially concerning sparkling wine. Hope all is well with yourself.

    • John, Lopes says that when wine is stored at the correct temperature and humidity, the headspace is vapor which keeps the cork moist. When humidity drops, the cork loses moisture faster than it can absorb it and dries out. I can send you his ppt and study if you like.

  3. dibbly says

    This is at least thirty years old. You need to review some Australian research on this. Science has always known that the air doesn’t go through the cork – IF it is a good cork. It’s only wine writers and wine people who believe that it does. The problem with cork, that the good professor didn’t really address, is that it’s impossible to predict what will happen because corks are not made to specifications, they are grown and sorted according to our best guesses.

  4. Pingback: Liquor Industry News/Links 02-26-18 | Franklin Liquors

  5. Pingback: Corks have significant impact on wine - Big Sky Headlines

Leave a Reply