Purposes of Bottle Wax in Winemaking

Two main methods of sealing wine bottles are commonly used by winemakers today. These ways of sealing the cork securely into the wine bottle are by placing a wax sealant over the corked bottle top or applying a sleeve of heat-shrink plastic. Today, these plastic sleeves are often found on lower-priced commercial wines since this method is easier and can add an attractive decoration to the bottle. However, plastic seals often fail to provide an airtight closure, and for this reason the older wax-sealing method is preferred by companies that produce and sell higher-caliber commercial wines.

Also, the wax sealing method is fast and simple to apply and offers high degrees of success for thorough protection of bottled wines during storage, sales and shipment. Good quality wax seals can be easily removed before popping the bottle cork, while plastic sleeves can be cumbersome to disengage from wine bottles before use. Wax sealing wins out completely for safe, secure protection of bottled wines over metal foil sleeves, which offer poor sealant protection and are primarily decorative.

Important Reasons for Use of Bottle Wax in Winemaking

Use of good quality bottle wax is important in the winemaking industry for the following major reasons:

  • Prevention of Wine Deterioration. – Even the highest grade of corks may not ensure excellent sealing of wine bottles. If a cork allows wine seepage and possible leakage, the bottled wine will begin to spoil due to the admittance of air into the bottle. Potentially harmful bacteria may also accumulate, and since air can oxidise flavour components in the wine, wine stored, sold and shipped in poorly sealed bottles can deteriorate rapidly. In addition, the “vinegar bug” commonly carried in air can create acetic acid, which gives the insecurely sealed wine the unpleasant taste of vinegar. However, even if a cork is not manufactured to provide sealing properties with high levels of airtight bottle closure, when coated with high-grade wax, a top-quality airtight seal can be achieved to protect fine wines.
  • Protection Against Cork Damage. – Especially for wines that are expected to be stored for a year or longer for aging purposes, a securely wax-sealed cork has greater protection against damage from damp, cold storage conditions or the development of cork weevil. Also, wines that are produced to contain no artificial additives or preservatives are particularly vulnerable to the development of cork deterioration, which can then taint the bottled wine. If wines are stored in damp cellars or storage rooms without proper and secure wax-sealed corks, stale, musty odours can actually permeate the cork and damage the wine. For these reasons, wax sealing for wine bottles is essential to ensure good protection of both the bottle corks and the wine itself.
  • Enhancement of Product Appearance. – The neat and attractive appearance of a professional wax seal on wine bottles promotes more customer interest and wine sales. In addition, wax seals offer the opportunity for easy company name or logo stamping on bottles, which quickly and clearly identifies the winemaker’s brand. Other decorative elements can also be attached to the seal to draw more attention to the winemaker name or to emphasize different qualities of similar types of wines.

At Grapeworks Consumables in Dingley Village, Victoria, you will find expert advice and top-quality supplies to enhance all aspects of winemaking or brewing and cider production. With professional experience and expertise in fine caliber bottle corking, sealing and packaging, this excellent team will provide you with all the essentials for ensuring that your wine bottles, corks and wax sealants provide the best possible protection against any wine or cork deterioration to ensure the highest quality wines for your enjoyment.