Benchmarking trial for sparkling wine closures commences soon

Friday, 07 March, 2014

The world’s first large-scale benchmarking trial for sparkling wine closures is due to commence in 2014. To be conducted by the Australian Wine Research Institute (AWRI), the trial will evaluate the impact of a range of different closure technologies on bottle-fermented Chardonnay Pinot Noir.

The trial aims to quantify key physical chemical and sensory impacts from each closure and compare the shelf life of sparkling wine under different closures.

Local sparkling wine producers and several international closure suppliers will participate in the trial, which is expected to run initially for 24 months. According to the AWRI, the trial has been structured to enable cost-effective access to relevant results and multiple options are available to match producers’ technical requirements and budgets.

The AWRI has previously conducted research into the effects of closure selection on still wines, but limited information exists about sparkling wines. Once completed, the trial results will give both wine producers and closure suppliers the information they need to make informed decisions about their products.

The trial will involve six closures that have been identified as being of greatest interest to Australian sparkling wine producers. These six closures form the core part of the trial and include traditional, technical and alternative closure technologies.

The analytical testing schedule includes basic wine attributes, colour development, sulfur-containing compounds, carbon dioxide retention, oxygen transmission rate, physical integrity and descriptive sensory analysis.

The AWRI plans to hold tasting workshops in selected regions to showcase particular wines’ development under different closures. This will give small and medium wine producers the opportunity to experience the sensory impact of closure choice firsthand and will provide an overview of the trends seen throughout the trial.

For more information about the trial, contact Neil Scrimgeour at

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