MW Topic of the Week: Technical Considerations at Bottling

Greetings from the future (I'm writing from the MW seminar in Adelaide)!

Honestly, I was planning on "phoning in" the upcoming TAMS and writing on the topic of technical considerations at bottling. And then I stared at a blank screen for a while as I realized that it wasn't as easy as I had originally thought.

Has anyone tackled this question yet Outline the key technical considerations involved in the final packaging for wine. (2015)

In my opinion, the main considerations include (but are not limited to)

  • Dissolved gas (mainly O2)
  • Sulfur dioxide
  • Sterility on the packaging line
  • UV exposure over time
  • Oxygen transfer rate of closure

Does anyone have notes for these or other considerations?




  • Oh my, this feels like a big question. It seems that the challenge here is deciding what to include and what not to include. I'm curious how much detail is appropriate here, especially compared with a more specific question, for example one that is focused only on wine closure.

    Here are a few additional considerations:

    In terms of consideration for packaging materials, I'd mention flavor addition/flavor scalping from the packaging materials (including TCA). It might be better to talk about "total package oxygen" which includes oxygen transfer through the closure as well as oxygen pickup at bottling due to dissolved O2, oxygen in the headspace, and oxygen from the closure. Concerning oxygen transfer rate, I'd be sure to mention both the average OTR and the variability in OTR of a given closure. 

    In terms of sterility, would you include things like in-line filtration, velcorin, pasteurization?

    Perhaps it's also worth mentioning practical considerations including wine temperature and fill heights? Also that there are additional important technical considerations when bottling with screwcaps or canning compared with "traditional bottling" with a glass bottle and cork, which is relatively easy and low-tech.

    Along with dissolved oxygen, I'd mention dissolved CO2 levels. It's common for Pinot and white wine producers to bottle with higher levels to increase the perception of acidity and energy in the wine, so this feels important from a wine style perspective.

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