WSC 5.05 Introduction to wine business<br />Assignment 1<br />Technology transfer. Changes in the materials and containers used to store and transport wine.<br />Matthew Fox<br />2003100142<br />Topic and introduction<br />From the inception of wine making there has been some form of container to hold and enclose wine. Due to the liquid nature of wine, the container in which it is kept has played a major role, firstly in more historical times holding the wine. Secondly with the evolution of containers greatly improving the quality and longevity of the wine meant that wines were able to be aged without bacterial or microbial spoilage Guardian (2011). From the beginning clay was the material used to store wines, with evidence dating back to 6000BC Guardian (2011). Over time the methods and productions of containers became more and more refined which lead to wine being able to be transported over greater distances. Fast forwarding a few thousand years came the production of glass bottles and larger containers and also barrels Guardian (2011). This evolution of storage meant that wine was able to be traded and transported longer distances for all to enjoy. As time moved along concrete fermentation and storage vessels and wooden barrels became more and more popular and used for production adding unique flavor and texture components Guardian (2011). The use of stainless steel in wine production and transportation was an enormous leap forward giving further control to the making and stowage of wine in a controlled environment away from spoilage bacteria and microbes. With most vessels for transport being in glass bottles in the post Roman era the new focus then became on creating a suitable sealant. For many centuries the humble cork has filled this role, but now with a massive technological advances in new materials and production applications many new closures have been produced. These technology advances also ring true for the way that we now transport wine over vast distances. Overall this advance in technology has led to the ability of wines to capture true expression by producers and can be passed on the world over to be enjoyed by many. The main focus for this assignment will be to look at storage containers for finished/part-finished wines and products used for the sealing of bottles to be sold to consumers. <br />Review of the history<br />With wine having a grand old history, through the ages there have been many debates to which period of time several different wine storage vessels belong to. Some of the first and oldest wine storage media made of clay are believed to date back as far as 6000 B.C which were found in Eastern Europe but more specifically Armenia (Guardian 2011). For many centuries clay was the material of choice as it was readily available and easily made in to the desired shape for containers, clay also had the benefit of being sealable but to a very limited degree. As techniques for clay containers improved so did the quality of wine stored on them which lead to the ability for wine to be transported (Winepros 2011). During the era of the Romans the art of glass-making was passed down from Phoenicians and was perfected to form glass bottles (Guardian 2011). Glass bottles have been used since this time with very few containers matching the many positive attributes of glass. With the production of glass bottles also came the use of corks to seal the bottles (Winepros 2011). This allowed wines to be aged for much longer periods of time than pervious technologies. <br />This is an example of some ancient clay pots used for wine storage (Chianticlassico 2011).<br />Review of the current industry<br />Shipping container/pallecons/ Stainless steel tankers<br />For transporting larger volumes of wine over great distances there are a few options that can be considered but the most popular by far is using a shipping container lined with a bladder. For wine to be transported in a shipping container wine is pumped into a large white opaque bag, similar to the ones found in cask wine boxes. These bags fit into a 20 foot shipping container and have the capacity of up to 24.000L. The bag is made from inert plastic and has 3-4 ply construction, The purpose of having several layers is for precautionary measures to avoid loss of product in the event of either rupture of an inner layer or puncturing. These bags are very cost effective and are in most cases only used once as they are inexpensive. They meet the standard requirements of a storage vessel for wines which include food grade quality, little-no gaseous exchange and have no effect on the wines organoleptic properties. Wines may also be transported in smaller versions of these bladders and are referred to as “pallecons” in the industry. These smaller transportable bags can hold up to 1000L and fit inside the structure shown in figure below. Stainless steel tanks are also used for the transportation of wines. The use of stainless steel tanks is in most cases used for shorter transport distances i.e. within a region or country. The use of stainless steel has the same benefits as in the winery such as ability of sanitation and no gaseous exchange. <br />A standard Pallecon unit to hold the bag for wine to be filled in to (Entapack 2005)<br />Bottles<br />For the current day glass bottles are the most used media for selling wines to consumers (Rankine 2004). For producers of wine there are now many choices of bottles that can be used for bottling. These choices include bottle shape, color, size, weight, embossing, bottle closure type and pressure holding ability. In recent years producers have also been able to use some new materials such as plastic bottles which are referred to as P.E.T bottles (polyethylene terephthalate) (Wineanorak 2011). P.E.T bottles have been used for many other beverages for many years with great success. Some of the pros and cons of plastic bottles are<br />PROS<br />Weight, with a weight of only 54 grams P.E.T bottles are considerably lighter than glass bottles which are on average 400 grams (Wineanorak 2011). <br />The size of the P.E.T bottles are much smaller than conventional glass bottles, this means that more bottles can be transported in the same storage volume as glass bottles (Wineanorak (2011).<br />The rigidity of P.E.T bottles in far superior to glass as they don’t break, this also makes then less hazardous to handle in production and transport (Packaging digest 2010).<br />The sustainability of P.E.T bottles is claimed to be exceptional due to its ability to be recycled, as well as having a lower carbon footprint compared to glass (Packaging digest 2010). <br />CONS<br />Wine integrity is affected due to the permeability of oxygen in to plastic, this leads to a wines life span being significantly shortened. This makes this packaging option limited to wines having to be consumed in a short period of time (up to four years)(Plastic news 2011). <br />Consumers have not taken well to the idea of wines in P.E.T bottles as it gives an inferior cheap mentality compared to glass (Plastic news 2011).<br />The long term effects and repercussions of P.E.T bottles on human health are not entirely known and are currently controversial (Packaging digest 2010). <br />Pros and cons for glass bottles include<br />PROS<br /><ul><li>Well known and understood storage medium for wine.
Little to no ingress of oxygen in to the bottle depending on the closure system.
Consumers are already comfortable with the use of glass bottles. </li></ul>CONS<br /><ul><li>Glass bottles are heavy, making them less efficient in transport situations. They are also physically larger than P.E.T bottles meaning a lower number can be put in the same storage space (Packaging digest 2010).
Can be prone to breaking during production and in transit, thus becoming a considerable health hazard (Packaging digest 2010).</li></ul> <br />Closure medias <br />Corks (natural, composite, synthetic)<br />Natural cork is harvested from the bark of the Cork oak tree ( HYPERLINK "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quercus_suber" o "Quercus suber" Quercus suber) and then cut out to suit the shape of the bottle to seal it (Reallyredwine 2011). The cork is available in several forms which vary in the origin of raw product, amount of oxygen permeability and the cost per unit. The natural cork is one that is made from tree bark in to a one piece unit that is then used to seal a bottle. This form of cork is available in many grades of quality with varying diameter and length options available.<br />Natural one piece cork (Winespectator 2011).<br />Composite corks are similar to natural one-piece corks but are in most cases made from off cuts of one-piece corks and are broken down and compressed in to the basic cork shape. Composite corks can also have the addition of small layers of natural cork discs added to each end to limit the amount of oxygen permeability (Rankine 2004). The problem that closures have in common is their ability to fail and cause several faults which include oxidation of wine, leaking and loss of wine and cork taint (Winespectator 2011). Cork taint is caused by the presence of the chemical trichloroanisole also known as TCA which gives the wine a wet dog/smelly socks aroma and a wet cardboard taste (Winespectator 2011). This chemical in detectable quantities makes wines undesirable and very unpleasant. Failure rates for cork are commonly debated, with producers of cork claiming failure rates as low as 0.7-1.2%. External studies how found cork failure rate to be as low as 2% but as high as 5% (Rankine 2004).<br />Two examples of composite corks. The cork on the left is made entirely form processed off cuts, the cork on the right is composed of a combination of off cuts but also has the addition of natural cork discs at each end (Winespectator 2011). <br />Synthetic corks are closures that are made from plastic compounds, with the intention to mimic a natural cork. This alternative to natural cork has many positive attributes such as not causing TCA taint (Forrest 2005), looks traditional and still uses the pulling of a cork from a bottle and providing the “pop” giving a romantic feel. Some of the negatives of this closure include letting in more oxygen then cork and screw cap over a short period of time, being very hard to extract from a bottle and reinsert, with some wine commentators commenting that they can impart a chemical flavor into the product. <br />Synthetic corks made to replicate the look of natural cork, but can be modified to become colored Drvino (2011)<br />Screw caps<br />Screw caps are a relatively new closure product to the wine industry when compared to the history of cork. This closure system is composed of an aluminium cap and sheath with a food grade sealant that comes into contact with the bottle to form the seal. This closure is applied to the bottle and is manipulated on application to the threads already on the bottle of choice to form both the seal and the means of opening. This closure is most commonly used in new world wine making countries, and is cheaper than most forms of cork closure systems. The screw cap also has the added bonus of the sheath attached to the cap, this means no foil caps or other covering need to be applied to the bottle making this a very cost effective system. Screw caps also give little bottle variation and greater uniformity between bottles in terms of bottling aging. Specifically designed bottles are needed to use this closure but are available in many of the forms that are used for conventional cork. <br />The screw cap, also known as “Stelvin cap” Bottppack (2011).<br />Zork (for still wine and sparkling)<br />The Zork is a very recent closure available to the market which was designed in Australia (Wikipedia 2011). This product is seen as a middle ground between screw caps and cork, this is because it has a similar seal properties to screw caps but is able to for fill the ‘pop’ of a cork. The closure is composed of three parts, an outer plastic casing that is tough and leak resistant and connects to the conventional cork bottle, a metal foil inner that provides a low but consistent oxygen transfer, and finally a sort food grade inner that provides a seal and is responsible for the ‘pop’ on removal (Zork 2011). This closure is not widely used and is applied to many lower end wines. This closure system is also available for sparkling wines, which can be reapplied to retain pressure for longer fizz in the product. This closure system has the advantages of being easy to open and reseal, greater consistency than cork and has no risk of imparting TCA taint (Zork 2011). <br />The two types of Zork brand closure systems. The new sparkling closure to the left and the table wine closure to the right (Zork 2011).<br />Vino-lok/vino-seal<br />Vino-lok is also a recently new closure system to the market. This closure system is unlike any other closure systems in that it uses a small glass stopper with a small O-ring to form a seal (Vino-lok 2011). This closure system has many positive attributes such as its resistance to give TCA taint to wines, prevents oxidation, is completely neutral and food grade and is easily opened and resealed (Vino-lok 2011). As the stopper is made from glass it is 100% recyclable and reusable (Vino-lok 2011). Some of the draw backs of using this closure system is that firstly it is very costly compared to others, specific bottles are needed to use vino-lok and that the high cost of manual bottling makes this product slightly unattractive due to the lack of mechanization . Vino-lok has a somewhat romantic property to opening compared to screw cap and produces more of ‘click’ than the traditional ‘pop’.<br />Vino-lok glass closure system compared to traditional cork (Wikipedia 2011)<br />Influences your chosen part of the industry has on the world of wine<br />The ability for influences of these advances in transport and closure technology will always be limited by several factors in our industry. These factors that can contribute include product sustainability, style changes, public perception, and point of manufacture. The influence of innovative new technology will in most cases be used in new world wine making countries. This is because the consumer is more open to accepting new ideas or other products compared to old world wine consumers. An example of this is the use of screw caps in old world wine making countries. Where screw caps are perceived to be used on lower quality products, there for the product is inferior to wines bottled with cork. But this is not always the case, as mentioned earlier corks have been known to have a failure rate of up to 5% of all bottles under cork (Rankine 2004). The level of cork failure for individual wineries can be limited by purchasing higher quality cork but is not guaranteed. Screw caps have also had their problems in terms of their effect on finished wines. With industry commenting on the number of wines having unacceptable levels of sulpher like odors due to the highly reductive conditions under screw cap(Forrest 2005). The reductive nature of wines under screw cap has been overcome with more understanding of the product and making wines to suit. For the level of consistency that screw caps provide, it seems a no-brainer not to use them as they provide superior uniformity and value for money. The use of shipping containers and other large storage vessels for transport will always be subject to the demand for bulk wine. This pays a significant role for many larger producing countries as there amount of bulk wine that will be transported will use these forms of storage. <br /> <br />Challenges for the future<br />The challenges for the future in the use storage and transport technology’s look to be pointed towards many influences. With CO2 admission and foot prints beginning to play a significant role in all products being produced, the decision for wineries to use certain products may weigh this factor final decisions. While many producers will stick to the tradition of glass and cork, the change will gradually move away from cork but will always have its place for some wines. The continual improvement of P.E.T bottle technology could see an increased use of this product, but the glass bottle for now is king and appears to not be going anywhere for some time. The transport of wine has remained unchanged for quite some time, but we may changes in the amount of wine being bottled near the point of sale rather than at the origin of production. With no immediate rush to any one technology all of the discussed products will undergo refinement and improvement like any other competitive consumable product. If the past is any thing to go by change in wine technologies will be gradual in uptake by both manufactories of wine and consumers. <br />Reference<br />Bottppack (2011). For photo of screw cap. Retrieved on July 29th 2011<br />bottpack.co.za<br />Chianticlassico (2011). Wine production using terracotta containers. Retrieved on July 29th 2011<br />http://www.chianticlassico.net/wine_in_terracotta.htm<br />Drvino (2011). Photo of synthetic corks. Retrieved on July 29th 2011<br />drvino.com<br />Entapack (2005). ENTAPACK IBC Liner. Retrieved on July 29th 2011<br />http://www.entapack.com.au/1products-ibc.htm<br />Forrest. J & Stelzer. T.(2005). Taming the screw: A manual for wine making with screw caps. Winepress<br />Guardian (2011). The history of wine. Retrieved on July 29th 2011<br />www.guardian.co.uk/books/.../wine-cultural-history-varriano<br />Packaging digest (2010). Barrier-coated PET bottles bring eco-benefits to wine brand. Retrieved on July 29th 2011<br />http://www.packagingdigest.com<br />Plastic news (2011). PET firms reject French study on wine bottles. Retrieved on July 29th 2011<br />http://plasticsnews.com<br />Rankine. B,C (2004). Macmillan edition publishers. Making good wine.<br />Really red wine (2011). Why Cork Wine Stoppers Work Best. Retrieved on July 29th 2011<br />http://reallyredwine.com<br />Vino-lok (2011). Vino-lok wine closure system, retrieved on July 29th 2011<br />http://www.vino-lok.de<br />Wikipedia (2011). Alternative wine closure. Retrieved July 29th 2011<br />http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alternative_wine_closure<br />Wineanorak (2011). Wine in PET bottles: will plastic replace glass? Retrieved on July 29th 2011<br />http://www.wineanorak.com/wine_in_pet_bottles.htm<br />Winepros (2011). Wine history, science and social impact through time, Retrieved on July 29th 2011<br />http://www.winepros.org/wine101/history<br />Winespectator (2011). Cork taint and its effects. Retrieved on July 29th 2011<br />www.winespectator.com<br />Zork (2011). Zork wine closure system, retrieved on July 29th 2011<br />http://www.zork.com.au/products<br />