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Why do some wine bottles leak?

One of the most common incidents we investigate at Cork Center Laboratory are the leaky bottles. It is a problem that we have encountered throughout our experience and that, even, we see that it has increased in incidence in recent years, surely linked to the increase in exports.

The factors that produce these leaks are multiple and in some cases we can discover what has been the cause of this leak and prevent its recurrence. The prevention of airtightness defects is essential to avoid economic and commercial losses for the winery, apart from mitigating the bad image they produce in the consumer.

When we receive a sample of bottles with airtightness defects, we investigate the evidence we observe in the sample following the steps of the protocol we have developed with our twenty years of experience. In many cases, we see that the problem could have been avoided with good prevention, especially in the following critical points:

– Maintenance of the bottling process: the maintenance of the bottling machine is essential to obtain a good performance of the caps and to ensure the quality of the wine in the bottle. Poorly maintained bottling machine jaws, excessive internal pressure or too much compression of the cap can cause problems in sealing.

– Control of bottling conditions: Controlling the speed and the environmental conditions at the right time of bottling will be key to avoid further expansion of the wine and overpressure phenomena.

Storage conditions: at this stage it is very important to avoid variations in the temperature and humidity conditions of the storage room during the maturation of the wine.

– Transport of the bottles: especially in the case of wines subjected to long journeys, transport in cold periods and thermally insulated containers must be prioritized to avoid the aforementioned expansion of the liquid.

– Quality control of caps and bottles: it is necessary to make a good choice of the type of cap and in some cases it is advisable to check its behavior before bottling according to UNE standards. In addition, ensuring the nominal diameters of the bottle neck, especially in special bottles, is essential due to the fact that glass is not exempt from variations in ambient temperature and manufacturing defects.

At present, the speed and immediacy in many of these processes means that vital aspects for the prevention of leaks are neglected. If you have ever encountered a leaking problem, we can help you determine the cause so that it doesn't happen again and accordingly establish a prevention protocol for tightness problems.