We believe this is an integral part of tradition and ensuring our wine is in the best possible condition when it reaches your lips. Before the invention of plastics and modern industrial processes, the only solution to keeping a bottle of alcohol fresh was to cork it and seal it.
Originally, bottles were sealed with cloth, leather or a clay stopper, but these stoppers allowed oxygen to enter the vessel. The Egyptians used materials such as leaves and reeds as seals, both covered in semi-permanent wet-clay. Later the Greeks and Romans experimented with rags, wax and today’s favoured stopper, cork. Resin, used as an adhesive, was so important to the Romans that different plants were sought out and prized for the varied flavours they added to the wine.
The Romans were intent on resolving the issue of being able to move liquid across the empire as efficiently as possible. Over the course of hundreds of years, Roman manufacturers continuously improved their physical design – the goals being to reduce weight without sacrificing strength and to pack more and more amphorae and then the glass bottles into the cargo holds of ships.
After inventing the bottle in which to transport their wine, the Roman’s next task was to find a way to ensure the cork and wine remained intact. If exposed to too much air and moisture, corks can deteriorate over time and expose the contents of the bottle to contamination. The Romans found that whatever they had sealed their bottles with, they still need a further covering or seal.
The purpose of a seal, was to protect the cork from being chewed on by rats and mice that often inhabited the wine cellars and the holds on ships. The capsule also prevented a potentially leaky cork from dripping on the ground, and inviting insects into the cellar. Even though you probably don’t think twice about it, that layer of wax, plastic or tin that encases the cork is absolutely crucial to the life of that bottle of wine. It serves the important purpose of keeping moisture, bacteria and other contaminants away from the cork by creating a moisture barrier.
At Terre Di San Vito, we have continued the Roman tradition of sealing our wine with wax.
Every bottle of wine at Terre Di San Vito is hand finished by dipping it into a luxurious wax, which seals the cork and it is then ready for the final stage of applying the labels.