Residential custom wine cellars are a place for you as an avid wine collector, to display your wine collection as well as to store and age your wines over time. As your wine collection grows your wine cellar is likely to have a mix of wines from different regions, wines that you will want to age over the longer term and some that will be intended to be consumed over a much shorter period.
As part of the management of your wine cellar there are many factors that can influence the preservation and aging of wine. In this article we are going to discuss the role different types of cork can play in this process.
Cork is used in a variety of products, the most common of which being the wine cork. It is considered the most suitable material for bottle stoppers on wine bottles because of its structure and component materials. The mechanical and physical properties that make cork the most preferred wine bottle closure include resiliency, low density, impermeability, flexibility, temperature and age stability, adherence and biodegradability.
Wine cork is essential to the graceful aging of wines in your wine cellar. It prevents oxygen from spoiling the wine in subsequent storage.
In order for cork to serve its purpose in wine storage, wines should be positioned in wine racks the right way. It is also essential to use the ideal wine cellar cooling units to ensure that the right humidity level in the wine cellar is maintained. This will prevent the cork from drying out and shrinking, thus reducing the possibility of oxidation, which causes wine spoilage.
There are different types of wine corks used by winemakers. The most well-known are the natural wine corks. These wine corks are derived from the best quality cork oak periderm or bark and are washed, carefully inspected for flaws, sterilized and printed.
Natural wine corks enable wine to mature slowly because they are able to seal it for a considerable length of time. They are most suitable for bold red wines intended for long term storage.
Corks which are popular for their affordability are agglomerated wine corks. They are low cost because they are made from clean natural cork grains. These grains are formed into dense corks by mixing them with food grade glue. They assure good sealing for wines intended to be stored from 12-18 months.
Another type of wine cork that fits ice wine bottles with a narrow neck is the ice wine natural cork. These corks are smaller than natural wine corks and are specifically sized to withstand high sugar content.
Pore-filled natural wine corks are called colmated wine corks. Their pores, or, lenticels, are preserved carefully with cork dust or cork grains. These grains are gathered and attached to the lenticels of colmated cork stoppers by using rubber glues (FDA authorized) or natural resin glues.
Synthetic wine corks are considered to provide a good seal to wines since they don’t harbor bacteria, which is why some wineries prefer to use this type of cork. The advantage of synthetic wine corks is their availability to be manufactured in different colors, thus allowing flexibility in packaging.
Double disc corks, also known as 1+1 corks or twin pop corks, are a combination of natural corks and agglomerated corks. The main advantage of this type of cork is the consistency in quality, density, price and function which make double disc corks widely used in bottling commercial wines.
When selecting wine for long term preservation and aging of your wines in your custom wine cellar, take into account the type of cork that was used to seal the wine and when making this decision. Wines that have been sealed with low-end porous corks are likely to be less suitable for long term storage.