Closure assessments

The AWRI’s reputation in the area of packaging evaluation and technical development is unparalleled on an international scale. The AWRI pioneered closure benchmarking assessments for the Australian wine industry in 1999, with a large-scale study that has had a major effect on  Australian and New Zealand’s uptake of alternative closures. Since this date the AWRI has conducted a range of research studies on the effect of closure, storage variables, copper additions and ascorbic acid additions on wine sensory properties. Key findings from this research have shown:

  • Evolution of white wine style post-bottling is driven primarily by the closure oxygen transmission rate over a defined shelf life
  • Very low OTR values can lead to the development of reductive attributes in the wine
  • Low OTR values lead to retention of fresh fruit characters
  • Moderate OTR values have elevated cooked and stewed fruit characters
  • High OTR values lead to oxidised characters.

The AWRI has conducted five separate white wine trials since 1999 and these broadly defined trends have been evident in all trials. These differences evolve rapidly post bottling and have a significant impact on a consumer’s enjoyment of the product.

Managing oxygen levels in wine at bottling, and then quantifying the rate of oxygen ingress through the closure post-bottling, is critical for understanding and assessing the impact of packaging technology on wine quality and shelf life. AWRI Commercial Services has developed several applications to assist the wine industry in effectively managing these parameters.

The team has expertise in monitoring and managing oxygen uptake at bottling. This capability allows for an even baseline for fair assessment of closure technologies. The team has also developed a method for measuring the oxygen transmission rate (OTR) of packaging materials, such as closures, while in contact with wine. AWRI research has shown that the evolution of wine styles post-bottling is primarily driven by closure OTR.

AWRI Commercial Services’ closure assessment capabilities include:

  • physical property evaluations
  • shelf life/storage testing
  • transport evaluations
  • true cost of use evaluations (activities based costing)
  • consumer preference evaluations
  • fault diagnosis and evaluation
  • environmental impact assessments and carbon footprint assessments(life cycle analysis).

More information is available on the AWRI Collaborative Closure Trial page.