To foil or not to foil...

30th Nov 2016 @ 15:04 by Gretchen

Why do wineries put a foil over the cork and neck of a wine bottle? I actually googled it and found lots of reasons. Some I found legit and others were more marketing and tradition.

The reasons I finally decided to stop foiling my wine necks were numerous. After 14 years of crafting small-lot wines, I found that foils obscure possible cork flaws, they're expensive and they're not environmentally conscious. When we pull a bottle to either sell in the tasting room or include in a shipment, if we can't see the cork we might be sending out a bottle with a cork that has leaked, which often causes cork "taint" in the wine. Note: Leaking corks are as natural as the cork itself. All corks have a percentage of leakage no matter the quality of the cork. The vast majority of wine people would agree that natural cork is still the BEST closure for the long-term aging of dry wine. Having said that, ALL CORKS leak.

One reason for foiling is that it helps keep the cork out of direct sun, which maintains some moisture in the upper part of the cork. I'd refute that by offering that if the wine is of any quality at all, the wine would not be left in the sun and always stored on its side in order to keep the cork wet.

I invested the money I saved by not foiling in much higher quality corks. I believe this will translate into fewer leaky corks, less possibility of "taint" (wet cardboard, musty odor/flavor) in the wine and a more aesthetic-looking cork.

So the next time you see a Harvest Moon or other small producer's bottle bearing a naked neck, know it's both green and a great way of assuring the the cork is of sound quality.