The proper control of O2 levels lies at the heart of modern oenology
When winemakers put the cork in a bottle of wine, their job is done. It’s their last oenological act; after that, it’s up to the cork.
In the past, using a piece of cork was a random act of hope — the cork could be very tight or very loose, and the winemaker could be lucky or unlucky. After 5 or 6 years of aging, the result could be reductive bottles, perfect bottles or oxidized bottles — or all three in the same batch. And, the unfortunate part is when consumers experience this fault, they assume it’s the wine style they do not like.
“The amount of oxygen that penetrates the cork directly affects the aging of the wine,” says François Margot, “so it is essential to consistently control the flow of oxygen.” Margot is the North American Sales Manager for Diam Bouchage, a global leader in technological corking solutions for still and sparkling wines and spirits.
“When you use a piece of cork bark, this elasticity will vary from cork to cork and decrease over time,” he explains. “A high elasticity cork will take many years before the elasticity breaks down. When it does, the pressure against the glass decreases as time goes on, and then oxygen goes around the cork instead of through it, oxidizing your wine.”
Revolutionary Diam Technology Eliminates Cork Taint and Controls Oxygen and Time During Winemaking Process and Bottle Aging
Twenty years ago, TCA contamination almost spelled the end of cork closures, and winemakers lost confidence in this natural and sustainable material.
Diam Bouchage pioneered a technology to eliminate cork taint — and ended up giving winemakers a revolutionary new oenological tool to control the flow of oxygen during wine maturation. Instead of random elasticity, the company engineered the cork by granulating it, removing the woody parts, and disinfecting it to remove more than 150 molecules, thus purifying the cork of TCA and other contaminants.
The Diam technology also enabled Diam Bouchage to guarantee the cork’s elasticity and how much oxygen would penetrate the cork. As a result, winemakers can now choose the optimal maturity time of 2, 3, 5, 10 or 30 years for their wine and be confident that the engineered Diam cork will do its job without early oxidization or potential reduction. Diam’s sustainable corking solution, Origine® by Diam, is a bio-sourced cork that offers different permeability options to control wine aging with ranges from 5, 10, and 30 years for still wines.
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“It’s not enough to say, ‘my cork controls oxygen transfer,’” says Margot. “We need to guarantee that the oxygen will be controlled over time. If the winemaker needs 30 years of aging, they need to be confident that the oxygen transfer will be stable for 30 years.”
The development of the Diam technology changed the market, and Diam Bouchage is now number one globally for technological closures.
Engineered cork continues to evolve
Further evolution of this technologically-advanced cork enables winemakers to select the optimal contribution of oxygen in two phases — releasing the oxygen from inside the cork: OIR (Oxygen Initial Release), followed by oxygen transfer through the cork over time: OTR (Oxygen Transmission Rate).
“We engineered the cork so the winemaker can choose not only how long the cork will do the job but also how much oxygen will pass through the cork each day,” Margot notes. “The winemaker now has an oenological tool that lets them bottle the same wine on the same day with different Diam corks to achieve differentiated goals instead of using a cork and hoping for the best.”
This phased control of oxygen allows winemakers to fine-tune the development of aromas during the wine maturation process.
“Choosing a cork to control oxygen levels in the bottle properly means controlling both the color and aromatic profile of the wine,” adds Diam’s R&D director, Christophe Loisel, “as well as reducing SO2 levels while respecting the quality of wine as it matures.”
Diam Bouchage continues to expand the oenological tools available to winemakers giving them the power to choose what best suits their wines.
G3 Enterprises is the exclusive distributor for Diam in North America, to learn more about Diam contact G3, www.g3enterprises.com/contact.
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