Studying the benefits of cork stoppers for sparkling wines

The SensoVI Operational Group investigates the positive effects of cork stoppers as opposed to the crown cap, which is used by most sparkling wine manufacturers.

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Photo: Pixabay

The wine and cork sectors have joined forces in terms of sustainability and research through the SensoVI Operational Group, which aims to increase knowledge of the effect of the use of cork in the second fermentation in bottle (circulation) of sparkling wines compared to the crown cap used by most manufacturers.

The project launch meeting took place on 1 July in Sant Sadurní d’Anoia, Spain, with the presence of all the members of the Operational Group: Recaredo, -elaborator specialised in long ageing with natural cork stopper for all its production-, Gramona, -family winery with a winemaking tradition, known for the production of artisanal sparkling wines of long ageing with natural cork stopper since the beginning of the 20th century, with a sustainable and environmentally friendly philosophy-, the sparkling wine stopper producing companies Oller and Tesa with the coordination of the Fundació Institut Català del Suro (Catalan Cork Institute).

The research centres of the Institut Català de la Vinya i el Vi (INCAVI), the Institut de Recerca i Tecnologia Agroalimentàries (IRTA) and the Fundació Institut Català del Suro itself also participate in the project.

SensoVI Operational Group members. Photo: Catalan Cork Institute (IC Suro).

Improving quality and competitiveness

This pilot project aims to improve the competitiveness of wineries by studying the positive contribution of the cork stopper in the bottling process instead of the crown cork. It also involves the expansion of the cork sector market with the development of a new stopper adapted to the conditions of secondary fermentation. The validation of the new stopper will be carried out analytically and sensorially. Finally, a study of the final consumer’s perception will be carried out.

In addition, GO SensoVI aims to increase the turnover of the Catalan cork sector by developing a new cork stopper specifically for circulation. This dynamism will have a positive impact on the amount of sustainably managed cork oak forests in Catalonia.

Cork, a 100% sustainable material

The Operational Group aims to preserve the biodiversity of cork oak forests (declared Natura 2000 areas) and to promote the replacement of non-recyclable auxiliary materials such as the crown cap, made of a multi-material of aluminium and plastic, with natural and local materials such as cork, which is 100% sustainable, recyclable and biodegradable and contributes to the optimal ageing of the bottled wine.

The GO SensoVI project has a global budget of 246,511.63 euros and is supported by the Department of Climate Action, Food and Rural Agenda of the Generalitat de Catalunya and the European Union through ERDF funds.