Will Plans to Put Foil on the Bottled Wine Get Foiled

The wine I bottle at home does not have foil or wax covering the opening. It is easy to observe the cork for mold or seepage of wine through the cork. At wine stores and wineries since most wines are covered in foil, one cannot observe the cork. A wine with mold on the cork may not be discovered until you are home and opening the wine. Why do wineries cover the bottle with foil or wax?

Bradley Brown, proprietor and winemaker at Big Basin Vineyards in Boulder Creek, California explains in a video that the practice serves no purpose. Historically it may have been done to prevent tampering with the wine, such as emptying the bottle and refilling it with a less desirable wine. I’ve also heard that some producers would not fill the entire bottle and the foil covered how full it was. Bradley has begun to leave the foil off Big Basin Vineyards’ wines.

January is another one of those decision months. Should I use foil coverings on the wine I bottle at Vint Hill Craft Winery and at Tin Lizzie Wineworks? Although we are months away, thinking about this issue now is a good activity to pass this long cold winter. From an environmental standpoint it may be better not to use foil coverings. On the other hand, a wine in a bottle without the foil just doesn’t seem finished. What do you think?

2 comments to Will Plans to Put Foil on the Bottled Wine Get Foiled

  • Kathleen

    I like the finished look of the foil.

    Since I have never removed a foil and discovered mold on the cork, how often does that happen? If it does happen, why not take a photo of it and send it to the winery rather than returning the bottle? I believe most wineries would be happy to compensate with another bottle of wine.

    Environment: Are there foils available that are environmentally friendly?

  • If I recall correctly, the original lead seals were used to keep vermin from gnawing through the corks in cellars. Basic cellar management has controlled the rat/mouse issues in today’s cellars. Further, the seals prevented tampering. I have to agree — in this day and age, the foil serves little to no practical purpose.

    That said, most consumers expect a capsule on the bottle. Peeling it is part of the experience of opening a bottle among friends. I would argue that the perceived quality of the wine in a bottle without a capsule or foil would be lower than one with. A commercially sold wine without a closure would need to overcome strong consumer expectations and would require education about why the winery left it off.

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