Reconsidering my position on wax capsules

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Rodrigo B
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Reconsidering my position on wax capsules

#1 Post by Rodrigo B »

I tend to dislike wax capsules quite a bit. They just didn’t seem to serve any other purpose aside from decorative and were just more annoying to deal with vs foil, especially with older wines where the Durand is called for. However, this recent article I came across on Olivier Lamy’s attempts to curb premox with a combination of DIAM corks and wax capsules has me reconsidering my position. Thought I'd share the article:

https://www.frw.co.uk/editorial/people/ ... ivier-lamy

Still not sure how best to get all that wax off old bottles so I can use a Durand though [swearing.gif]
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Re: Reconsidering my position on wax capsules

#2 Post by Tomás Costa »

Great article. I have also found wax capsules in Bachelet-Monnot's wines, and I assume for the same reason, although I don't believe they use DIAM.
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Re: Reconsidering my position on wax capsules

#3 Post by Ron Slye »

Thanks for posting this. Like you I am now reconsidering my annoyance with wax capsules. I wonder if anyone has tried to ascertain what the effect is on red wine?

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Re: Reconsidering my position on wax capsules

#4 Post by Anthony C »

My local wine shop has a brand of house wines made in Paso, mostly Rhone varietals, but not always. Reds and whites are under wax with pretty standard corks.

Most I've aged any of his wines (or that winery before he bought it) was 7 years. Still tasted fresh but more integrated with age, which makes sense -- no oxygen means no oxidation so any chemical aging was just the flavors, alcohol, and tannins interacting. Next time I drop in, I'll ask if that was deliberate or aesthetic.
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Re: Reconsidering my position on wax capsules

#5 Post by Rodrigo B »

Ron Slye wrote: January 12th, 2021, 6:54 am Thanks for posting this. Like you I am now reconsidering my annoyance with wax capsules. I wonder if anyone has tried to ascertain what the effect is on red wine?
I’d imagine it’d have the effect of slowing down the ageing curve on the wine.

What I’m really interested in knowing after reading the article is the difference in performance of wines under different closure and capsule combinations. For example, how does a wine using DIAM and foil perform compare to one using natural cork and wax capsule?
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Re: Reconsidering my position on wax capsules

#6 Post by Todd Hamina »

For me it depends on the wax (hate the brittle type that is messy), and I use a big knife to cut through it.
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Re: Reconsidering my position on wax capsules

#7 Post by larry schaffer »

Interesting article - but I'm not sure that wax creates an anti-oxidative environment, anymore so than an aluminum capsules does. I cannot find any information that says so.

It would be intersting to have his hypothesis tested - otherwise, this is simply anecdotal at best.

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Re: Reconsidering my position on wax capsules

#8 Post by Anthony C »

I found a university paper that analyzed oxygen and wax permeability, but it was behind a paywall. The conclusion was in the abstract that said wax was sufficient to protect wine from oxidation. But of course, no details since it was just the abstract.
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Re: Reconsidering my position on wax capsules

#9 Post by larry schaffer »

Anthony C wrote: January 12th, 2021, 8:08 am I found a university paper that analyzed oxygen and wax permeability, but it was behind a paywall. The conclusion was in the abstract that said wax was sufficient to protect wine from oxidation. But of course, no details since it was just the abstract.
The real question is whether it provides any more 'protection then an aluminum foil - and hownmuch more than without anything at all.

As I said, I found the article intersting, but look at this as an n of 1.

And I wonder if the same article was written but his 'solution' was screw caps what the reactions would be to this 'conclusion'.

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Re: Reconsidering my position on wax capsules

#10 Post by Yao C »

Rodrigo B wrote: January 12th, 2021, 1:23 am However, this recent article I came across on Olivier Lamy’s attempts to curb premox with a combination of DIAM corks and wax capsules has me reconsidering my position.
Apparently PYCM as well. The effect may be marginal, but I like the idea of this measure working in concert with multiple other lines of defense
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Re: Reconsidering my position on wax capsules

#11 Post by Rodrigo B »

Todd Hamina wrote: January 12th, 2021, 7:34 am For me it depends on the wax (hate the brittle type that is messy), and I use a big knife to cut through it.
Preferences are a funny thing, I actually prefer the brittler waxes. Makes a mess, but at least I can get all or most of it off to access the cork. The softer waxes just stick to everything. I've had a couple that just completely coated the worm of my corkscrew and wouldn't go away.

larry schaffer wrote: January 12th, 2021, 7:54 am Interesting article - but I'm not sure that wax creates an anti-oxidative environment, anymore so than an aluminum capsules does. I cannot find any information that says so.

It would be intersting to have his hypothesis tested - otherwise, this is simply anecdotal at best.

Cheers.
While Olivier Lamy only gave Gavin only two wines to sample, we don’t know the extent of his research into closures and premox. The article made it sound like Lamy has conducted quite a few experiments with closures. That said, I agree with you that as of now this is anecdotal at best, and more research needs to be done (or at least shared by Lamy if he has the extensive tests results) to be able conclude anything meaningful about wax and its effects on premox. I think you’d need a much bigger sample size in order to conclude anything with any statistical significance. I’d love to know if he has more detailed data on his tests and if he has conducted any type of statistical analysis on it.
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Re: Reconsidering my position on wax capsules

#12 Post by Otto Forsberg »

larry schaffer wrote: January 12th, 2021, 8:14 am The real question is whether it provides any more 'protection then an aluminum foil - and hownmuch more than without anything at all.
It most certainly does. The aluminum foil is just pressed there, it's not sealed airproof. Furthermore, the top is often perforated with two small holes so that it can be inserted with more ease around the bottle neck. It offers no protection whatsoever against oxygen, it only protects the cork from physical harm and reduces possibilities of tampering with the cork going unnoticed.

However, a wax creates a somewhat airproof seal around the mouth of the bottle - although since the wax probably isn't fully impermeable to oxygen, it doesn't offer complete protection (and there is some air always trapped within the cork as well). Nevertheless, unless the wax is chipped so that the cork is exposed, it actually offers at least some kind of seal against oxygen, unlike the foil.

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Re: Reconsidering my position on wax capsules

#13 Post by MBerto »

When I asked this question awhile back I received no consensus, although the group seemed to lean towards "wax does nothing".

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Re: Reconsidering my position on wax capsules

#14 Post by GregT »

larry schaffer wrote: January 12th, 2021, 7:54 am Interesting article - but I'm not sure that wax creates an anti-oxidative environment, anymore so than an aluminum capsules does. I cannot find any information that says so.

It would be intersting to have his hypothesis tested - otherwise, this is simply anecdotal at best.

Cheers.
But a wax is just a class of compounds right, and you can make waxes with different specs, no? So if indeed his wax has been a perfect seal, then why not screwcaps or anything else that would make such a seal, like maybe shrink-wrap capsules.

And what will that do to the deeply cherished beliefs of some people who insist that you need to have some oxygen ingress through he cork . . .
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Re: Reconsidering my position on wax capsules

#15 Post by Eric Ifune »

The type of wax most commonly used as bottle capsules are permeable to oxygen.

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Re: Reconsidering my position on wax capsules

#16 Post by Al Osterheld »

A cork like a Diam 10 is already a pretty good seal.

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Re: Reconsidering my position on wax capsules

#17 Post by larry schaffer »

Otto Forsberg wrote: January 12th, 2021, 8:57 am
larry schaffer wrote: January 12th, 2021, 8:14 am The real question is whether it provides any more 'protection then an aluminum foil - and hownmuch more than without anything at all.
It most certainly does. The aluminum foil is just pressed there, it's not sealed airproof. Furthermore, the top is often perforated with two small holes so that it can be inserted with more ease around the bottle neck. It offers no protection whatsoever against oxygen, it only protects the cork from physical harm and reduces possibilities of tampering with the cork going unnoticed.

However, a wax creates a somewhat airproof seal around the mouth of the bottle - although since the wax probably isn't fully impermeable to oxygen, it doesn't offer complete protection (and there is some air always trapped within the cork as well). Nevertheless, unless the wax is chipped so that the cork is exposed, it actually offers at least some kind of seal against oxygen, unlike the foil.
Otto,

It would be interesting to 'test' your hypothesis by including both a waxed and foiled bottle and follow them over time. You are most likely correct - but if wax really is permeable as well, my guess is that the difference in oxygen ingress between the two will be minute over a period of years.

Cheers.
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Re: Reconsidering my position on wax capsules

#18 Post by Paul Miller »

larry schaffer wrote: January 12th, 2021, 2:35 pm
Otto Forsberg wrote: January 12th, 2021, 8:57 am
larry schaffer wrote: January 12th, 2021, 8:14 am The real question is whether it provides any more 'protection then an aluminum foil - and hownmuch more than without anything at all.
It most certainly does. The aluminum foil is just pressed there, it's not sealed airproof. Furthermore, the top is often perforated with two small holes so that it can be inserted with more ease around the bottle neck. It offers no protection whatsoever against oxygen, it only protects the cork from physical harm and reduces possibilities of tampering with the cork going unnoticed.

However, a wax creates a somewhat airproof seal around the mouth of the bottle - although since the wax probably isn't fully impermeable to oxygen, it doesn't offer complete protection (and there is some air always trapped within the cork as well). Nevertheless, unless the wax is chipped so that the cork is exposed, it actually offers at least some kind of seal against oxygen, unlike the foil.
Otto,

It would be interesting to 'test' your hypothesis by including both a waxed and foiled bottle and follow them over time. You are most likely correct - but if wax really is permeable as well, my guess is that the difference in oxygen ingress between the two will be minute over a period of years.

Cheers.
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Re: Reconsidering my position on wax capsules

#19 Post by larry schaffer »

Paul,

No, I will not be waxing my screw cap bottles.

Cheers!
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Re: Reconsidering my position on wax capsules

#20 Post by Otto Forsberg »

larry schaffer wrote: January 12th, 2021, 2:35 pm It would be interesting to 'test' your hypothesis by including both a waxed and foiled bottle and follow them over time. You are most likely correct - but if wax really is permeable as well, my guess is that the difference in oxygen ingress between the two will be minute over a period of years.

Cheers.
Definitely, although I suppose the aluminum foil really doesn't make any difference. If the foil is perforated, it offers no protection whatsoever against oxygen, since air can move freely around the bottle lip and cork end. Un-perforated foil might offer a little bit of protection, since it's choked around the slightly wider bulge around the bottle neck close to the lip. However, even though aluminum is 100% impermeable to oxygen, I doubt that even un-perforated aluminum foil protects much from oxygen, since you can't make an air-proof seal just by pressing aluminum foil against glass.

Think about it - or actually, let's have a small thought game. You're in a room and the other room is full of toxic gas and there's a tube with the diameter, size and shape of a bottle neck connecting your room with the gas leak. You have a piece of aluminum foil you can put around the tube mouth and a blob of wine bottle wax and means to melt and coat the tube with it. You can attempt to seal the tube with only one of these two options - which one would you use?

I agree with you in that if wax is permeable to oxygen, I suppose it will have only quite minute effect - especially with extended aging. However, for example this abstract for a research on wax permeability suggests that the oxygen permeability through wax is very minuscule, suggesting that it might actually limit oxygen ingress more than marginally.

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Re: Reconsidering my position on wax capsules

#21 Post by Anthony C »

Otto Forsberg wrote: January 12th, 2021, 3:02 pm
larry schaffer wrote: January 12th, 2021, 2:35 pm It would be interesting to 'test' your hypothesis by including both a waxed and foiled bottle and follow them over time. You are most likely correct - but if wax really is permeable as well, my guess is that the difference in oxygen ingress between the two will be minute over a period of years.

Cheers.

I agree with you in that if wax is permeable to oxygen, I suppose it will have only quite minute effect - especially with extended aging. However, for example this abstract for a research on wax permeability suggests that the oxygen permeability through wax is very minuscule, suggesting that it might actually limit oxygen ingress more than marginally.
That's the one I was referring to earlier. Anyone in school here that can read that paper for free and give us the highlights? [cheers.gif]
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Re: Reconsidering my position on wax capsules

#22 Post by dougwilder »

As someone who opens a lot of bottles, the less time it takes to get the wine into the glass the better. Recently I see an uptick in number of producers doing away with closures altogether and finished with DIAM. Some wax formula is almost like beeswax and isn't bad. Having said that, I haven't found a good reason to have it on a bottle apart from cosmetic.
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