While we at DOMSOM are convinced there is nothing better than popping the cork or unscrewing the cap on a bottle of wine, from the time the wine is bottled until we open it, one of the most important elements in making sure the wine is at its best when poured into a glass is the wine bottle closure. Not all closures are the same, and we are not here to profess why one is any better than the other as than the other. Our goal is to educate you on the options and why a vintner might choose one form of closure versus another.
- Corks – natural corks are the most traditional and frequently used of closures. Coming from the bark of cork trees which can regenerate surprisingly quickly, they are sustainable and biodegradable. Super reliable, risk is only the rare occasion they dry out due to poor storage conditions or extreme dry heat. They can shrink and allow oxygen exposure or expose the wine to “cork taint”
- Synthetic Corks – made from plastics to simulate natural cork, these eliminate the risk of oxygen exposure or cork taint but are not biodegradable.
- Screw Caps – also called “stelvins”, this closure has gained in popularity, especially for wines meant to be immediately consumed, or at least within a few years versus extended aging over many years. Super convenient and nearly impossible for oxygen to penetrate, we do appreciate the simplicity of this closure option.
There are several other types of closures in many different materials, but these options cover most wines produced in the U.S. With each having its benefits and its challenges, the type of closure should never be used as an indicator of a wine’s quality!
In addition to keeping wine safe and secure in its bottle, we know there will be the rare occasion where a bottle isn’t completely consumed and it needs to be resealed to keep it at its best for round 2. Restaurants who serve wines by the glass are especially interested in these forms of closure!
- Re-corking – this is one of the simplest options and works well if the remainder of the wine will be consumed within a day or so of opening. The wine will get some oxygen exposure as oxygen replaces the consumed wine in the bottle. The trick of the trade is to prevent the wine opener from piercing all the way through the cork when opening so as little additional oxygen can enter.
- Stoppers – this option fully prevents additional oxygen entering the bottle once closed. Super easy to use. Some are completely made of rubber and some more decorative options simply have rubber rings around the base to seal the bottle in style.
- Vacuum stoppers – this option combines a rubber stopper with a vacuum pump to remove oxygen from the open wine bottle preventing oxidation from happening.
DOMSOM recommends storing open bottles in a refrigerator standing straight up. Cooler temperatures slow oxidation which is a good thing and by standing the bottle upright, less wine is directly in contact with any oxygen in the bottle.
MELVIN MERLOT TIP – VIDEO – show using a plastic water bottle instead of the glass wine bottle for storage squeezing out as much oxygen as possible