Why I (really, really) don't like wax capsules

It happened again today.
I went to open a bottle of 2018 Bierzo from Veronica Ortega.
Damnation, wax capsule.

Chip away, make a mess, necessarily leave some on the outside of the bottle.
Wipe away the bits that inevitably remain around – and on the inside of – the neck of the bottle.

Why, oh why do producers do this?
I see no positive side whatsoever. Do you?

It cab be pointed out that there are supple wax capsules. Although useless, these are admittedly much easier to remove. But, hell, other than standing out for marketing purposes, I see no justification.

If tradition is the answer, I’d say that there are good and bad traditions, and that this is one of the latter.

Best regards,
Alex R.


Why are you chipping at the wax? Just stick the corkscrew in and open like you would a normal bottle.


Or, just put a hot washcloth around the very top of the capsule for 20 sec, and the wax becomes soft and just peels off.


I agree with the OP, no upside regardless how one approaches dealing with the wax.

The most recent Dunn release is shifting to wax on only larger format bottles, I was very pleased to read.

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Mess, mess, and mess.

WHat is the point?

Drilling through hard wax with a silicon-coated corkscew not good either.


Zero upside, and as someone who works on a restaurant floor it’s incredibly frustrating to try to open it at a table and watch it rain down/have to pick or wipe it off/get stuck.

End wax tyranny.

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True, no real way around some mess.

I usually open it over the sink if I have access to one, pull the cork up slightly, blow or wipe away the particles, and trim extra wax if I think it will get inside the bottle or interfere with pouring.

Not many bottles left with hard wax for me, save for Puffeney, so I don’t quite mind the hassle to get to the juice. The only other one I would knowingly buy would be Raveneau, and that ain’t happening soon :sweat_smile:.

I opened a Saxum JBV White earlier this week with a wax capsule and got it off the bottle without any issues. While I don’t like the extra work to open the cork, not all wax closures are super messy.

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If you are chipping or cutting, you are doing it wrong.
Stick the corkscrew into the center of the top, give it a slight pull, the center of the wax top should break. You can then continue to pull it out or if it’s an older bottle, you can insert an ahso at this point.



What I’m asking is why make things more complicated than they need to be?



This is all for the look and the perceived value. I do kind of like really big bottles!

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Maybe we could just have white paper labels with black print too. [snort.gif]

It’s wine. It tells a story in many ways. Some stories are more complex than others.


Pulling it directly through the wax capsule is not foolproof. In multiple cases, I’ve had the cork break while trying to pull directly through wax, as the wax was too tough to give way to the cork fully. I watched one friend try this on an older bottle (2001 burg, not even that old), and his corkscrew shredded the center of the cork creating an unholy mess of little bits falling into the bottle.

The hot water treatment also only works on younger softer wax capsules - it doesn’t do much good on old crusty curmudgeon wax.

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You wrote “t’s wine. It tells a story in many ways. Some stories are more complex than others”

Could you kindly explain why a wax capsule adds to a wine’s complexity, makes its story more meaningful?

I’m really puzzled by that comment.

Alex R.

Multiple threads about this. Some producers (PYCM and Lamy in St Aubin come to mind) believe that the wax is an added edge in fight against premox.
I don’t have the technical chops to know if that is based on science, but I have found those wines have a good track record. Personally I don’t think it takes me any longer to open their wines than those with a traditional capsule.


I assumed that there was a storage/anti-premox advantage as Dale pointed out. Part of this assumption is due to some wineries using wax on their high-end wines but not on their entry level wines.



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Agree with those who stick the corkscrew straight through the wax and open as if the wax wasn’t there. Easiest way I’ve found.

I think it looks cool, but could take it or leave it.


I would love to see what impact it has on premox with hard data.

At least a couple of my favorite winemakers (Halcon, Kyric) are not using capsules at all. I am all in favor of getting rid of them until someone can convince me they really make a difference.


Sorry if this has already been debated previously on the forum.

If wax capsules help fight against premox, I’d be very interested to hear if there is any reason for this. It sounds kind of off-the-wall.

You say that you take no longer to open wine with wax capsules than any other kind. With the soft wax, I can believe it. But, I promise you, if you were confronted with the one I took off today, it wasn’t like that.

Alex R.

Alex is bored today.