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Technology transfer: Changes in Materials and Containers used to Store and Transport Wine

Technology transfer: Changes in Materials and Containers used to Store and Transport Wine






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  • Evidence from chemical analysis done on old Egyptian jars presenting tartaric acid strongly suggests that the liquid in these jars was wine that had been fermented and stored in (The History of Wine Part2, 2009). Clay was the perfect material because it can be formed into many shapes and when dried and fired is indestructible. Wine stored in these large clay vessels and buried in the ground for temperature control or small vessels for easier transportation (The History of Wine Part2, 2009). However clay was porous so liquid could soak in and even out. To improve porousness the inside of the pot was coated with pitch or resin, this coating altered the flavour of the item stored which was commonly fish, oils, meats, olives, vinegar, and wine so had its flaws (The History of Wine Part2, 2009).
  • Engineers eventually developed amphora, a long vase which is tapered at the bottom with two handles on top. It was designed to fit the economic needs of that time being able to hold about 6 gallons of wine and be store and transported. The unique shape allowed them to easily fit into stands or packed into ships. It could also be rested on the ground and tipped forward to pour the contents into smaller containers for consumption (The History of Wine Part2, 2009).
  • This went on for thousands of years until the Romans grew powerful and then developed glass blowing which was quickly found to be a good medium for storing wine as it didn’t affect the flavour and you could see what was in the bottle (History of Glass Wine Bottles, n.d). Coal burning furnace allowed creation of thicker, darker glass paired with cork made a strong glass bottle for wine transport and storing (Before the Wine Bottle Existed, 2009).The Glass bottle is a neutral, porous material which allows the wine to subtly age and mature, it is excellent at protecting the wine from oxidation. It contains small capacity enough for one drinking session which was much more convenient than a big amphorae and oxidisation and contamination wasn’t an issue (Pendleton, 2007).
  • Manufacturing hand blown glass was an issue because it led to a huge variation in size so consumers never knew exactly how much wine they were getting. For this reason it was illegal to sell wine in bottles in England up until 1860 (Before the Wine Bottle Existed, 2009), instead consumers would bring in their own containers and an amount would be poured from the barrel. As time went on glass blowing became easier and it was found that long flat shapes were better for storing wine as it kept the cork wet (History of Glass Wine Bottles, n.d). So in 1730 it became necessary to store corked bottled wines on their side so it was then that the bottle shape changed to a standard cylindrical bottle (Before the Wine Bottle Existed, 2009). In 1979 the US set requirements that bottles be exactly 750mL to help standardised and keep consistent, also it is economical and easy for winemakers to ship (History of Glass Wine Bottles, 2009).
  • The shade of green glass varies from light to dark to the level of impurities in the glass (Before the Wine Bottle Existed, 2009). The shape of the bottle was used to represent country such as Bordeaux has short neck and high shoulder with a punt to trap sediment during pouring and allows long and stable stacking and storage (Before the Wine Bottle Existed, 2009). Champagne bottle is thicker to handle the extra pressure and also fit into the special racks during the lengthy production (Before the Wine Bottle Existed, 2009). German Rieslings are personalised by their tall green slender shape (Before the Wine Bottle Existed, 2009). Chianti bottles from Italy are onion shaped wrapped in straw to protect the glass and to allow the bottle to stand upright (Before the Wine Bottle Existed, 2009).Labels were not used; instead bottle would be marked with the Vineyards site, vintage and wine type.
  • It didn’t take long before people noticed that closure for containers was necessary. Some ancient methods to do this include a layer of olive oil floating on top to prevent wine being exposed from air, insects, and flies but when transporting wine it would spill. Alternative closures include oil-soaked or pinch-covered rags or wooden stoppers. Egyptians also used cork as a stopper but didn’t become dominant until centuries later (The History of Wine Part2, 2009) when French monk Dom Perignon first used cork for wine in the 1600s (The Natural Choice, n.d). Cork made it possible for the current fine wine scene to develop allowing for aging and cellaring (Wine in PET Bottles, n.d).Currently screw cap has taken over, more so in the New World than Old World, with the main advantage being no more cork taint but the disadvantage is that some relate it to a cheap wine.
  • Earliest cooper tools date back to 100B.C. Pliny the Elder died in 79A.D and he wrote about wine being stored in wooden containers with metal hoops (The History of Wine Part3, 2009). It was the Romans who recognized that barrels were better than clay for storing and transporting liquid as it is lighter and stronger and the bow shape makes it easy to roll onto ships (The History of Wine Part3, 2009). Today French and American Oak barrels are commonly used for fermenting and aging juice/wine.
  • The wood used for the barrels would strip the wine of fruit making it unpleasant to drink (Pendleton, 2007). Also as soon as you would open it, it would need to be drunk within a couple days or it would rapidly deteriorate due to oxidisation and contamination (Pendleton, 2007).
  • Wine is very perishable, susceptible to the surrounding environment so when transporting the amount of movement needs to minimal. The humidity should remain around 70% and temperature between 13-16 degrees Celsius so climate controlled containers should be used especially for long distances.
  • Bulk wine is commonly transported in ISO tanks, and flexitank bladders. Bottled wine is transported tightly in cardboard divisions or polystyrene as glass is very fragile. Wine must first be stable before transporting anywhere.
  • Wine is stored in stainless steel tanks in wineries where it has fermented and had differing vinification processes occur. Commonly for red varieties and some whites for example Chardonnay oak barrels are used for fermentation and aging.Bag in box wines have been around since 1960s it is currently used for bulk ‘cheap’ wines as it is cost efficient packaging and available in different sizes (Wine in PET Bottles, n.d).Tetrapak weighs 40grams compared to 600g glass bottles. They are made from 70% recycled materials reducing gas emissions and are easily stackable (Wine in PET Bottle, n.d). Light weight glass bottles are a greener and more economical alternative. By slimming down the thickness of glass and removing the punt there will be a 14-16% decrease in glass usage. Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles are a future packaging development. It weigh one-eighth that of glass making it more transport efficient and is smaller which is better for storage space during transport. Disadvantages of this material is that the wine quality decreases as oxygen is able to get in creating a much shorter shelf life span, also the implications on health from the plastic is not well understood and most importantly marketing wise, consumers will consider the product ‘cheap’ (Wine in PET Bottles, n.d). These alternative packaging methods are good for wines meant to be drunk in 1-2 years’ time from bottling but wines meant for aging should stick with glass at this stage. There is consideration for global challenges for the future with reducing gas emissions and recyclable products.
  • Picture references:Slide 1: Sourced from: http://www.sha.org/bottle/wine.htmSlide 2: History of Glass Wine Bottles. Sourced from: http://www.wineintro.com/history/glassware/general.htmlSlide 4: Amphorae. Sourced from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AmphoraSlide 5: Hand Blown Glass Wine Bottle. Sourced from: http://www.nps.gov/museum/exhibits/revwar/image_gal/morrimg/winebottle.htmlSlide 7: Wine Bottle Types. Sourced from: http://www.wineylittlebitch.com/2012/03/wine-bottle-shapes-31-marchSlide 9: Corks. Sourced from: http://www.yemmhart.com/news+/winecorkrecycling.htmSlide 10: Wooden Barrel. Sourced from: http://www.clker.com/clipart-10574.htmlSlide 14: Wine in PET Bottles. Sourced from: http://www.wineanorak.com/wine_in_pet_bottles.htm

Technology transfer: Changes in Materials and Containers used to Store and Transport Wine Technology transfer: Changes in Materials and Containers used to Store and Transport Wine Presentation Transcript